From time-resolved atomic-scale imaging of individual donors to their cooperative dynamics

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Science Advances  10 Mar 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 3, e1601552
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601552

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The key elements in the steady miniaturization process of cutting-edge semiconductor devices are the understanding and controlling of charge dynamics on the atomic scale. In detail, we address the study of charging processes of individual doping atoms and, especially, the interaction of those atoms with their surroundings. We use pulsed optical excitation in combination with scanning tunneling microscopy at the n-doped gallium arsenide [GaAs(110)] surface to investigate single donor dynamics within a nanoscaled, localized space charge region. Tuning the tunnel rate can drive the system into nonequilibrium conditions, allowing distinction between the decay of optically induced free charge carriers and the decay of donor charge states. The latter process is atomically resolved and discussed with respect to donor-level binding energies and local donor configurations.

  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • semiconductor
  • GaAs
  • Dopant dynamics
  • nanotechnology

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