Nanoporous InP: anodic formation and growth mechanism in aqueous electrolytes
Porous layers can be formed electrochemically on (100) oriented n-InP substrates in aqueous KOH. A nanoporous layer is obtained underneath a dense near-surface layer and the pores appear to propagate from holes through the near-surface layer. In the early stages of the anodization transmission electron microscopy (TEM) clearly shows individual porous domains that appear to have a square-based pyramidal shape. Each domain appears to develop from an individual surface pit which forms a channel through this near-surface layer. We suggest that the pyramidal structure arises as a result of preferential pore propagation along the <100> directions. AFM measurements show that the density of surface pits increases with time. Each of these pits acts as a source for a pyramidal porous domain. When the domains grow, the current density increases correspondingly. Eventually the domains meet, forming a continuous porous layer, the interface between the porous and bulk InP becomes relatively flat and its total effective surface area decreases resulting in a decrease in the current density. Current-time curves at constant potential exhibit a peak and porous layers are observed to form beneath the electrode surface. The density of pits formed on the surface increases with time and approaches a plateau value. Porous layers are also observed in highly doped InP but are not observed in wafers with doping densities below ~5 × 1017 cm-3. Numerical models of this process have been developed invoking a mechanism of directional selectivity of pore growth preferentially along the <100> lattice directions. Manipulation of the parameters controlling these curves shows that the fall-off in current is controlled by the rate of diffusion of electrolyte through the pore structure with the final decline in current being caused by the termination of growth at the pore tips through the formation of passivating films or some other irreversible modification of the pore tips.
Porous layers , Aqueous KOH. , Transmission electron microscopy , AFM measurements , Atomic force microscopy
O’Dwyer, C. ‘Nanoporous InP: anodic formation and growth mechanism in aqueous electrolytes’, State-of-the-Art Program on Compound Semiconductors XLII -and- Processes at the Compound-Semiconductor/Solution Interface, 207th ECS Meeting, Quebec City, Canada, 15-20 May. Proceedings - Electrochemical Society, Vol. 4, pp. 40-63. ISBN 1-56677-462-4.
© 2005, Electrochemical Society