The III-Bi binary compounds
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Bismuth containing III-V alloys such as GaAsBi, GaSbBi, InSbBi and InAsBi have recently become of great interest in the development of optical devices in the infrared spectrum. Difficulties in fabricating these materials stems, in part, from the lack of experimental data on the characteristics of the III-Bi family of compounds: AlBi, GaBi, and InBi. This thesis outlines the growth conditions and characteristics of the MBE deposition of InBi. To date, InBi remains the only one of the three compounds that has been experimentally reported, and the difficulties associated with the growth of AlBi and GaBi are also described herein. InBi thin films were grown on GaAs substrates at temperatures ranging from 50 °C to 100 °C. Unlike other III-V materials, which require a group V overpressure during deposition, to achieve stoichiometric quantities of indium and bismuth an In:Bi BEP ratio of 4:3 was found to be necessary. InBi samples were studied by a variety of measurement techniques, including SEM, EDX, XRD, HAXPES, and HRTEM. Films were found to grow in a 3-D Volmer-Weber mode, forming hemispherical droplets on the substrate surface. These droplets indicated clear signs of Ostwald ripening during growth, but maintained their distribution after deposition. InBi samples are believed to be semi-metallic, confirming some of the properties predicted by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. However, analysis of the crystal structure at the substrate/droplet interface indicates the epitaxial growth of InBi is in the zinc-blende configuration, instead of the PbO configuration, in direct opposition to predictions by DFT and experimental data reported from bulk crystal studies. Attempts to grow the other III-Bi materials, GaBi and AlBi, by MBE also resulted in 3-D droplet formation, but both gallium and aluminum failed to incorporate with bismuth to form a compound. Instead, the materials formed segregated regions in the droplets, clearly visible to SEM and EDX compositional analysis. Additional efforts to incorporate these materials into the ternary alloy InAlBi met with similar results, but In 1-x Ga x Bi deposition at x = 0.1 showed clear indications of Ga incorporation in the XPS results. These results suggest that with continued refinement of the growth conditions GaBi fabrication may be possible.