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Reduction of etched AlGaAs sidewall roughness by oxygen-enhanced wet thermal oxidation

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2 Author(s)
Liang, D. ; Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 ; Hall, D.C.

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The authors demonstrate that the oxidation smoothing of sidewall roughness of dry-etched Al0.3Ga0.7As ridge structures is enabled through a modified wet thermal oxidation process which involves the addition of dilute amounts of O2 to the water vapor ambient. High magnification cross-section and top-view scanning electron microscope imagings both before and after oxide removal clearly show a substantial reduction of photolithography- and dry-etching-induced sidewall roughness (from σ∼100 nm down to σ∼1–2 nm), occurring only with the participation of added O2. The smoothing process provides means to realize high-index-contrast GaAs-based optical waveguides with both low bend and scattering losses.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:91 ,  Issue: 6 )