Temperature-Dependent Photoluminescence Characteristics of GeSn Epitaxial Layers
Germanium Tin (GeSn) epitaxial heterostructures are emerging as prominent candidates for the monolithic integration of light sources on Si substrates. Here we propose a suitable explanation for their temperature-dependent photoluminescence (PL) that is based upon the so far disregarded optical activity of dislocations. By working at the onset of plastic relaxation, which occurs whenever the epilayer releases the strain accumulated during growth on the lattice-mismatched substrate, we demonstrate that dislocation nucleation can be explicitly seen in the PL data. Notably, our findings point out that a monotonic thermal PL quenching can be observed in coherent films, in spite of the indirect nature of the GeSn band-gap. Our investigation, therefore, contributes to a deeper understanding of the recombination dynamics in this intriguing group IV alloy and offers insights into crucial phenomena shaping the light emission efficiency.