Strategies for Analyzing Noncommon-Atom Heterovalent Interfaces: The Case of CdTe-on-InSb

Esperanza Luna, Achim Trampert, Jing Lu, Toshihiro Aoki, Yong Hang Zhang, Martha R. McCartney, David J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Semiconductor heterostructures are intrinsic to a wide range of modern-day electronic devices, such as computers, light-emitting devices, and photodetectors. Knowledge of chemical interfacial profiles in these structures is critical to the task of optimizing the device performance. This work presents an analysis of the composition profile and strain across the noncommon-atom heterovalent CdTe/InSb interface, carried out using a combination of electron microscopy imaging techniques. Because of the close atomic numbers of the constituent elements, techniques such as high-angle annular-dark-field and large-angle bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy, as well as electron energy-loss spectroscopy, give results from the interface region that are inherently difficult to interpret. By contrast, use of the 002 dark-field imaging technique emphasizes the interface location by comparing differences in structure factors between the two materials. Comparisons of experimental and simulated CdTe-on-InSb profiles reveal that the interface is structurally abrupt to within about 1.5 nm (10–90% criterion), while geometric phase analysis based on aberration-corrected electron microscopy images reveals a minimal level of interfacial strain. The present investigation opens new routes to the systematic investigation of heterovalent interfaces, formed by the combination of other valence-mismatched material systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1901658
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • (scanning) transmission electron microscopy
  • CdTe–InSb
  • IIVI and IIIV semiconductors
  • interfacial measurements
  • noncommon-atom heterovalent interfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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