CdTe and Related Compounds; Physics, Defects, Hetero- and Nano-structures, Crystal Growth, Surfaces and Applications: Physics, CdTe-based Nanostructures, CdTe-based Semimagnetic Semiconductors, Defects

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Almost thirty years after the remarkable monograph of K. Zanio and the numerous conferences and articles dedicated since that time to CdTe and CdZnTe, after all the significant progresses in that field and the increasing interest in these materials for several extremely attractive industrial applications, such as nuclear detectors and solar cells, the edition of a new enriched and updated monograph dedicated to these two very topical II-VI semiconductor compounds, covering all their most prominent, modern and fundamental aspects, seemed very relevant and useful.

  • Detailed coverage of the main topics associated with the very topical II-VI semiconductor compound CdTe and its alloy CZT
  • Review of the CdTe recent developments
  • Fundamental background of many topics clearly introduced and exposed
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Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-08-091458-9

Chapter One

Introduction J.B. Mullin

CdTe and CdZnTe are iconic examples of II–VI compounds. They epitomise the difficulties that need to be surmounted for successful device exploitation in this class of semiconductors. How can this exploitation be achieved? Put simply it can be achieved only by dominating the materials technology. Or, as Dr Sekimoto an eminent Japanese businessman and scientist so elegantly put it "Who dominates materials dominates technology". This book is about materials domination and the resulting device exploitation. It concerns the knowledge, the abundant practical experience and the valuable device technologies that have emerged in the development of CdTe and its close relative CdZnTe as a result of the impressive research efforts of countless dedicated scientists.

The II–VIs have a long evolutionary history; indeed some II–VIs have had applications from the dawn of antiquity. But our interest is their role as semiconductors. The advent of the semiconductor era (circa 1948) created a new standard in materials science – the need for semiconductor quality. This standard ideally required material that was completely single crystal and essentially defect-free and whose significant impurity content had been reduced to the ppb level. What then is the status of CdTe and its related alloys with respect to this goal?

The achievement of this goal for CdTe can be seen as a much more demanding and problematic process when compared with the group IV elements and the III–V compounds. The initial stage of semiconductor quality was reproducibly met for germanium in about a decade and within the next decade silicon had assumed a role as the dominant semiconductor. In the case of the III–Vs comparable development followed a very much slower process. An exception has been InSb a semiconductor blessed with benign preparative properties. It achieved semiconductor quality status within 3–4 years following serious interest in its development around 1953. Two important controlling parameters can be identified as driving forces in the evolution of all these semiconductors, the perceived significance and importance of its device applications and the intrinsic material properties especially its preparative properties.

Why is Cadmium Telluride evolving relatively slowly as a device-quality semiconductor even though it has a readily accessible melting point and manageable vapour pressure over the melt? From a device point of view its applications have industrial significance. Thus it has gradually attracted increasing research support following its role as a solar cell material. Its close relative HgCdTe relative has received immense support in view of its infrared detector capabilities and its consequential unique military role. ZnCdTe has found a critical role as a substrate material for that difficult alloy. ZnCdTe also enjoys a crucial role as a precursor γ-ray detector material. Of course many more device applications of CdTe and its related II–VI relatives are attracting more support and study. But the dominating problem in their rate of evolution has been and to some extent still is the lack of structural material knowledge together with the intrinsic difficulties in the preparation of the compounds and alloys.

The supreme importance then of this book is that it addresses this central problem of crystal structural knowledge. This has been achieved by the editors who have brought together a most impressive selection of authors who clearly show how unwavering dedication to material science and technology can bring about the understanding and control of these most intransigent materials and the effective development of valuable device technologies.

A fundamental feature of the II–VIs is the ionic component of the bonding between adjacent atoms in contrast to the covalent bonding of the group IVs. This departure from covalent character gives rise to a range of native point defects and their associated complexes and is central to understanding and controlling the properties of these materials. The behaviour of the point defects has been studied since the pioneering work of de Nobel. The main problem however in studying native point defects is the lack of methods for their direct investigation. But whilst there is a good working knowledge of their behaviour a definitive understanding is still lacking. Nevertheless very useful progress in the control of point defects is reported.

To understand and control the II–VIs one must have a working knowledge of the properties of these native point defects. This requires the ability to control the composition with the imperative need to understand the phase diagram. Without the application of specific precursor composition control non-stoichiometric CdTe with significant concentrations of native point defects can result. An excess Te concentration typically in the region of 0.0010% has been a common problem. The knowledge assembled in the reviews on material preparation provides a splendid account of the growth procedures for dealing with this problem.

As with all semiconductors the identification and removal of impurities in and from the component elements and their compounds and alloys is an essential requirement.

Great progress is reported in this area. This leads directly to the methods for preparing the crystals of CdTe and CdZnTe. This has been handled admirably by Dr Triboulet who has spent a good proportion of his scientific career in championing the development and applications of these semiconductors. Indeed it is the raison d'être for the book. The established methods of melt growth, solution and vapour growth are rigorously reviewed with a fine balance between fundamental and practical considerations. This and related studies by other authors on the preparation of doped materials and their potential relationship to structural complexes have led to remarkable progress. Indeed the understanding of doped material provides a necessary key to device exploitation.

A distinctive feature of CdTe and related materials, which contrasts with the group IVs and the III–Vs, is the omnipresence of grain boundaries. This together with the ease of formation of dislocations, stacking faults and inclusions of second phases creates formidable challenges to the material scientists. The reviews give an up to date account of their identification, behaviour and control methodology without which device development would be truly problematic. Such advances have been nurtured as a result of essential research on the fundamental understanding of the optical and physical properties of CdTe and related compounds and alloys. These topics are also reviewed as are the physics of surfaces and compensation.

The advances in materials knowledge are clearly demonstrated by the development of valuable environmental, medical and opto-electronic devices. One cannot but be impressed by the range of device activities associated with CdTe CdZnTe and related materials. At the forefront of these activities the importance of CdTe as a classic thin film solar cell material is well recognised and its role is discussed in depth. The optical detector role also covers X-ray detectors, a role of increasing importance not only in the safety and security aspect of monitoring of nuclear emissions but also in its value as a detector in medical scanning systems involving computer tomography. The unique properties of doped materials such as V doped for their photo refractive properties and Mn-doped materials in connection with conventionally grown nano-structures and as semi-magnetic semiconductors. The latter application is making a significant contribution to the physics of spintronics. They offer a splendid insight into the future of these materials.

The reviews presented in this compilation provide an essential study for anyone involved in II–VI development. The extensive materials knowledge reviewed provides the key to device exploitation. Indeed the unique device applications confirm the leading roles of CdTe, CdZnTe and related materials in the history of semiconductors. The reader is cordially invited to explore and assess their fascinating role for him or herself.


Excerpted from CDTE AND RELATED COMPOUNDS; PHYSICS, DEFECTS, HETERO- AND NANO-STRUCTURES, CRYSTAL GROWTH, SURFACES AND APPLICATIONS Copyright © 2010 by Elsevier Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of ELSEVIER. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction (J.B. Mullin) CdTe-based materials: Band Structures and Binding Properties (Arden Sher) Optical phonon spectra in CdTe crystals and ternary alloys of CdTe compounds (B.N.Mavrin, E.A.Vinogradov) Band structure and Electrical Properties (C.R. Becker) The Optical Properties of CdTe (V. Consonni) Mechanical Properties of CdTe and Alloys (J.C. Moosbrugger) CdTe-based nanostructures (H. Mariette) CdTe-based semimagnetic semiconductors (R.R. Galazka and T. Wojtowicz) Macroscopic defects (K. Durose) Inclusions and precipitates in CdZnTe substrates (J.-O. Ndap) Theoretical calculation of the formation energies of point defects and of their energetic levels in CdTe (M.A. Berding) Experimental identification of intrinsic point defects; Characterization of intrinsic defects levels in CdTe and CdZnTe (K. Lynn) Experimental identification of native point defects in CdTe (P. Fochuk and O. Panchuk) Doping (O. Panchuk) Impurity compensation (Y. Marfaing)

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