Newly engineered substrates consisting of semiconductor-on-insulator are gaining much attention as starting materials for the subsequent transfer of semiconductor nanomembranes via selective etching of the insulating layer. Germanium-on-insulator (GeOI) substrates are critically important because of the versatile applications of Ge nanomembranes (Ge NMs) toward electronic and optoelectronic devices. Among various fabrication techniques, the Smart-CutTM technique is more attractive than other methods because a high temperature annealing process can be avoided. Another advantage of Smart-CutTM is the reusability of the donor Ge wafer. However, it is very difficult to realize an undamaged Ge wafer because there exists a large mismatch in the coefficient of thermal expansion among the layers. Although an undamaged donor Ge wafer is a prerequisite for its reuse, research related to this issue has not yet been reported. Here we report the fabrication of 4-inch GeOI substrates using the direct wafer bonding and Smart-CutTM process with a low thermal budget. In addition, a thermo-mechanical simulation of GeOI was performed by COMSOL to analyze induced thermal stress in each layer of GeOI. Crack-free donor Ge wafers were obtained by annealing at 250 °C for 10 h. Raman spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction (XRD) indicated similarly favorable crystalline quality of the Ge layer in GeOI compared to that of bulk Ge. In addition, Ge p-n diodes using transferred Ge NM indicate a clear rectifying behavior with an on and off current ratio of 500 at ±1 V. This demonstration offers great promise for high performance transferrable Ge NM-based device applications.
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