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Optical Characterization of Epitaxial Semiconductor Layers

Optical Characterization of Epitaxial Semiconductor Layers (Hardback)

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The characterization of epitaxial layers and their surfaces has benefitted a lot from the enormous progress of optical analysis techniques during the last decade. In particular, the dramatic improvement of the structural quality of semiconductor epilayers and heterostructures results to a great deal from the level of sophistication achieved with such analysis techniques. First of all, optical techniques are nondestructive and their sensitivity has been improved to such an extent that nowadays the epilayer analysis can be performed on layers with thicknesses on the atomic scale. Furthermore, the spatial and temporal resolution have been pushed to such limits that real time observation of surface processes during epitaxial growth is possible with techniques like reflectance difference spectroscopy. Of course, optical spectroscopies complement techniques based on the inter- action of electrons with matter, but whereas the latter usually require high or ultrahigh vacuum conditions, the former ones can be applied in different environments as well. This advantage could turn out extremely important for a rather technological point of view, i.e. for the surveillance of modern semiconductor processes.

Despite the large potential of techniques based on the interaction of electromagnetic waves with surfaces and epilayers, optical techniques are apparently moving only slowly into this area of technology. One reason for this might be that some prejudices still exist regarding their sensitivity.

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