Investigation of lead surface segregation during germanium–lead epitaxial growth

  • 106 Accesses


Crystalline germanium–lead (GePb) alloys were deposited on Ge(100) substrates via magnetron sputtering epitaxy. Strip-shaped Pb segregation along the <110> direction was observed on the Ge0.976Pb0.024 film surface, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy. The chemical compositions and structural properties of the strip-shaped segregation were investigated by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy and micro-Raman scattering spectra. The Ge0.976Pb0.024 film remained high crystal quality even after Pb segregation. The strip-shaped segregation was mainly composed of polycrystalline Pb, and its surface was covered with a GePb nanocrystalline layer.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 199

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8

Data availability

The raw/processed data required to reproduce these findings cannot be shared at this time due to technical or time limitations.


  1. 1

    Zhou Q, Chan TK, Lim SL, Zhan C, Osipowicz T, Gong X, Tok ES, Yeo Y-C (2014) Single crystalline germanium–lead alloy on germanium substrate formed by pulsed laser epitaxy. ECS Solid State Lett 3:91–93

  2. 2

    Zhou Q, Ong EBL, Lim SL, Vajandar S, Osipowicz T, Gong X, Tok ES, Yeo Y-C (2016) Single crystalline germanium–lead formed by laser-induced epitaxy. ECS J Solid State Sci Technol 5:353–360

  3. 3

    Schlipf J, Frieiro JL, Fischer IA, Serra C, Schulze J, Chiussi S (2017) Growth of patterned GeSn and GePb alloys by pulsed laser induced epitaxy. In: 2017 40th international convention on information and communication technology, electronics and microelectronics (MIPRO), IEEE, Opatija, Croatia

  4. 4

    Alahmad H, Mosleh A, Alher M, Banihashemian SF, Ghetmiri SA, Al-Kabi S, Du W, Li B, Yu S-Q, Naseem HA (2018) GePb alloy growth using layer inversion method. J Electron Mater 47:3733–3740

  5. 5

    Liu X, Zheng J, Zhou L, Liu Z, Zuo Y, Xue C, Cheng B (2019) Growth of single crystalline GePb film on Ge substrate by magnetron sputtering epitaxy. J Alloy Compd 785:228–231

  6. 6

    Huang W, Cheng B, Xue C, Li C (2014) Comparative studies of clustering effect, electronic and optical properties for GePb and GeSn alloys with low Pb and Sn concentration. Phys B 443:43–48

  7. 7

    Huang W, Cheng B, Xue C, Yang H (2017) The band structure and optical gain of a new IV-group alloy GePb: a first-principles calculation. J Alloy Compd 701:816–821

  8. 8

    Zheng J, Li L, Zhou T, Zuo Y, Li C, Cheng B, Wang Q (2014) Growth of crystalline Ge1−xSnx films on Si (100) by magnetron sputtering. ECS Solid State Lett 3:111–113

  9. 9

    Liu X, Zheng J, Li X, Liu Z, Zuo Y, Xue C, Cheng B (2019) Study of GePb photodetectors for shortwave infrared detection. Opt Express 27:18038–18043

  10. 10

    Li H, Cui YX, Wu KY, Tseng WK, Cheng HH, Chen H (2013) Strain relaxation and Sn segregation in GeSn epilayers under thermal treatment. Appl Phys Lett 102:251907

  11. 11

    Tsukamoto T, Hirose N, Kasamatsu A, Mimura T, Matsui T, Suda Y (2015) Investigation of Sn surface segregation during GeSn epitaxial growth by Auger electron spectroscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. Appl Phys Lett 106:052103

  12. 12

    Takase R, Ishimaru M, Uchida N, Maeda T, Sato K, Lieten RR, Locquet J-P (2016) Behavior of Sn atoms in GeSn thin films during thermal annealing: ex-situ and in situ observations. J Appl Phys 120:245304

  13. 13

    Su S, Wang W, Cheng B, Hu W, Zhang G, Xue C, Zuo Y, Wang Q (2011) The contributions of composition and strain to the phonon shift in alloys. Solid State Commun 151:647–650

  14. 14

    Costa VRD, Tolle J, Roucka R, Poweleit CD, Kouvetakis J, Menéndez J (2007) Raman scattering in Ge1−ySny alloys. Solid State Commun 144:240–244

  15. 15

    Assali S, Nicolas J, Moutanabbir O (2019) Enhanced Sn incorporation in GeSn epitaxial semiconductors via strain relaxation. J Appl Phys 125:025304

Download references


This work was supported by National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFB2200500), the National Natural Science Foundation (Grant Nos. 61774143, 61604146) and Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS (Grant No. QYZDY-SSW-JSC022).

Author information

Correspondence to Jun Zheng.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Liu, X., Zheng, J., Li, X. et al. Investigation of lead surface segregation during germanium–lead epitaxial growth. J Mater Sci 55, 4762–4768 (2020).

Download citation