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Effect of annealing on the density of defects in epitaxial CdTe (211)/GaAs
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CdTe thin films were grown on GaAs (211) wafers by molecular beam epitaxy as the buffer layer for HgCdTe infrared detector applications. We studied the effect of annealing on the density of dislocation of these CdTe thin films under varying annealing parameters such as annealing temperature, annealing duration, and number of cycles. Annealings were carried out using a homemade annealing reactor possessing a special heater element made of a Si wafer for rapid heating. The density of dislocations, which were made observable with a scanning electron microscope after etching with an Everson solution, were calculated by counting the number of dislocations per unit surface area, hence the term etch pit density (EPD). We were able to decrease EPD values by one order of magnitude after annealing. For example, the best EPD value after a 20-min annealing at 400°C was ∼ 2 × 107 cm−2 for a 1.63-μm CdTe thin film which was about 9.5 × 107 cm−2 before annealing. We also employed Raman scattering measurements to see the changes in the structural quality of the samples. From the Raman measurements, we were able to see improvements in the quality of our samples from the annealing by studying the ratio of 2LO/LO phonon mode Raman intensities. We also observed a clear decrease in the intensity of Te precipitations-related modes, indicating a decrease in the size and number of these precipitations.