The Epicenter fabricates and analyzes heterostructures that are used in ongoing electronic and optoelectronic device efforts.
Advances in molecular beam epitaxy allow the Epicenter to address the control of the structure of solids on the monolayer-length scale. This flexibility in the fabrication of semiconductors allows quantum mechanical control of electronic wave functions, which allows the electronic and optical properties of semiconductors to be engineered for particular device applications. Heterostructures formed from III-V semiconductors with 6.1 Å lattice spacing (GaSb, AlSb, InAs, and related alloys) are grown in the Epicenter. These heterostructures have the potential to define a new state of the art in applications that include >100-GHz high-speed logic circuits, terahertz transistors, sensitive infrared detectors, and mid-infrared semiconductor lasers. III-Mn-V ferromagnetic semiconductors and ZnMnSe, ZnCoSe, and ZnFeSe dilute magnetic semiconductors are also fabricated in the Epicenter. The development of these materials should allow the creation of a new class of devices with operating principles that rely on the spin of the electron, commonly referred to as "spintronics."
This facility includes five interconnected ultra-high-vacuum systems for molecular beam epitaxy film growth and film analysis. Three of these chambers are used for molecular beam epitaxial growth of III-V semiconductors, II-VI semiconductors, and ferromagnetic semiconductors. Film analysis is accomplished with a scanning tunneling microscope. The fifth chamber is used for etching semiconductor heterostructures.