X-ray scattering from InAs quantum dots
This thesis addresses one of the major outstanding problems in the study of self-assembled InAs quantum dots (QDs): their physical profile after deposition of a capping layer and post-growth processing. The optical properties of QDs depend critically on the shape, composition and strain profile, yet these parameters are inaccessible to most experimental techniques once the dots are buried. Data from various x-ray scattering experiments are presented here, along with a novel approach to simulating diffuse scattering using an atomistic model based on Keating energy minimisation. The size and position of the diffuse scattering on the low-Q side of the Bragg peak, which are strongly influenced by the shape and composition of the QDs, has been used to determine that the QDs are truncated pyramids with a diagonal base length of 28 nm, with their edges aligned along the  and  directions. The composition profile varies from pure InAs at the top to 40-60% InAs at the base. These properties all agree with recent cross-sectional scanning tunnelling microscopy (X-STM) measurements by Bruls et al. It was shown that post-growth annealing causes a reduction in the In content of the QDs, primarily by diffusion from the base of the dot into the wetting layer. Grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) measurements have been made from samples of QDs produced with varying growth interruptions (GI) before deposition of the capping layer. The QDs were found to be highly diffuse. After a GI, the dots have been shown to change shape anisotropically, with two facets becoming sharper. An investigation of the use of resonant scattering to study buried QDs has shown that the method of contrast variation is of limited use for enhancing the measurement of diffuse features away from the Bragg peak. It is unsuitable for the study of buried nanostructures.