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Epitaxial Fe3Si films on GaAs(100) substrates by means of electron beam evaporation

 This paper presents results on the preparation, structural, electrical and magnetic properties of Fe3Si films as a representative for a Heusler alloy-like compound which are known as half-metallic materials with ferromagnetic behaviour. The films have been prepared by means of ultra-high vacuum (UHV) electron beam evaporation with the aim of achieving epitaxial growth on GaAs(100) substrates. The main focus of this work is the structural characterization of the Fe3Si films grown on GaAs by means of high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to confirm the epitaxial growth. For Fe3Si with a composition in the vicinity of stoichiometry an almost lattice-matched growth on GaAs(001) has been observed characterized by a high crystalline quality and a good interface perfection. Besides the studies on cross-sectional samples by TEM data from reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) were also included into the discussion. The electrical and magnetic parameters of the films studied are found to be in good agreement with data reported for the best Fe3Si molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) layers. As evidenced by x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, resistivity and magnetic measurements, we find an optimum growth temperature of 280–350 °C to obtain ferromagnetic layers with high crystal and interface perfection as well as a high degree of atomic ordering.


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