MRS Bulletin

Technical Feature

Technical Feature

Epitaxial Growth of III-V Nanowires on Group IV Substrates

Erik P. A. M. Bakkers, Magnus T. Borgström and Marcel A. Verheijen


Semiconducting nanowires are emerging as a route to combine heavily mismatched materials. The high level of control on wire dimensions and chemical composition makes them promising materials to be integrated in future silicon technologies as well as to be the active element in optoelectronic devices.

This ar ticle reviews the recent progress in epitaxial growth of nanowires on non-corresponding substrates. We highlight the advantage of using small dimensions to facilitate accommodation of the lattice strain at the surface of the structures. More specifically, we will focus on the growth of III-V nanowires on Group IV substrates. This approach enables the integration of high-perform ance III-V semiconductors monolithically into mature silicon technology, since fundamental issues of III-V integration on Si such as lattice and thermal expansion mismatch can be overcome. Moreover, as there will only be one nucleation site per crystallite, the system will not suffer from antiphase boundaries.

Issues that affect the electronic properties of the heterojunction, such as the crystallographic quality and diffusion of elements across the heterointerface, will be discussed. Finally, we address potential applications of vertical III-V nanowires grown on silicon.

Erik P.A.M. Bakkers is a senior scientist and project manager at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He received his MS and PhD degrees in 1996 and 2000, respectively, in physical chemistry from Utrecht University. During his PhD work, he studied electron tunneling between nanocrystals and metals by low-temperature scanning tunneling micros copy and timeresolved photoelectrochemical techniques.

Bakkers has been at Philips since 2000, working on semiconductor nanocrystals and nanowires for electronic and photonic applications. His research interests include the synthesis, structural characterization, electronic transport, and optical properties of nanostructures.

Bakkers can be reached at Philips Research Laboratories, High Tech Campus 4, 5656 AE Eindhoven, the Netherlands; and by email at

Magnus T. Borgström is a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where he works on epitaxial growth and characterization of semiconductor nanowires.

He received his MSc in 1999 and his PhD degree in physics in 2003 from Lund University in Sweden. He spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, working on optical properties of semiconductor nanowires, before joining Philips.

Borgström can be reached by e-mail at

Marcel A. Verheijen is a senior scientist at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He received his MS degree in 1991 and his PhD degree in 1995, both in solid-state chemistry, from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. During his PhD studies, he researched single-crystal growth of incommensurately modulated crystals and fullerene crystals using optical microscopy and AFM. Since 1996, he has been a TEM application specialist, studying nanowire microstructure, rewritable optical storage discs, and various semiconductor device issues using TEM and related techniques such as electron holography.

Verheijen can be reached at Philips Research Laboratories, High Tech Campus11, 5656 AE eindhoven, the Netherlands;