The determination of the carrier diffusion length of semiconductors such as GaN and GaAs by cathodoluminescence imaging requires accurate knowledge about the spatial distribution of generated carriers. To obtain the lateral distribution of generated carriers for sample temperatures between 10 and 300 K, we utilize cathodoluminescence intensity profiles measured across single quantum wells embedded in thick GaN and GaAs layers. Thin (Al, Ga) N and (Al, Ga) As barriers, respectively, prevent carriers diffusing in the GaN and GaAs layers to reach the well, which would broaden the profiles. The experimental CL profiles are found to be systematically wider than the energy loss distributions calculated by means of the Monte Carlo program CASINO, with the width monotonically increasing with decreasing temperature. This effect is observed for both GaN and GaAs and becomes more pronounced for higher acceleration voltages. We discuss this phenomenon in terms of the electron-phonon interaction controlling the energy relaxation of hot carriers, and of the non-equilibrium phonon population created by this relaxation process. Finally, we present a phenomenological approach to simulate the carrier generation volume that can be used for the investigation of the temperature dependence of carrier diffusion.
20 Feb 2020
arXiv preprint arXiv:2002.08713