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Characterization of free-standing InAs quantum membranes by standing wave hard x-ray photoemission spectroscopy

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Free-standing nanoribbons of InAs quantum membranes (QMs) transferred onto a (Si/Mo) multilayer mirror substrate are characterized by hard x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (HXPS) and by standing-wave HXPS (SW-HXPS). Information on the chemical composition and on the chemical states of the elements within the nanoribbons was obtained by HXPS and on the quantitative depth profiles by SW-HXPS. By comparing the experimental SW-HXPS rocking curves to x-ray optical calculations, the chemical depth profile of the InAs(QM) and its interfaces were quantitatively derived with ångström precision. We determined that (i) the exposure to air induced the formation of an InAsO4 layer on top of the stoichiometric InAs(QM); (ii) the top interface between the air-side InAsO4 and the InAs(QM) is not sharp, indicating that interdiffusion occurs between these two layers; (iii) the bottom interface between the InAs(QM) and the native oxide SiO2 on top of the (Si/Mo) substrate is abrupt. In addition, the valence band offset (VBO) between the InAs(QM) and the SiO2/(Si/Mo) substrate was determined by HXPS. The value of VBO = 0.2 ± 0.04 eV is in good agreement with literature results obtained by electrical characterization, giving a clear indication of the formation of a well-defined and abrupt InAs/SiO2 heterojunction. We have demonstrated that HXPS and SW-HXPS are non-destructive, powerful methods for characterizing interfaces and for providing chemical depth profiles of nanostructures, quantum membranes, and 2D layered materials.

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