We present a numerical study of the electronic and optical properties of a model single-element superlattice made of a periodic sequence of relaxed and strained regions of a germanium crystal, realized by means of an externally applied strain. We adopt the tight-binding model to evaluate the strain-driven modifications of the band structure and the optical properties. Superlattice band gaps, spatial confinement of near-gap valence and conduction states, and analysis of their symmetry character, have been obtained for different superlattice periodicities and strain intensities. Our results indicate that, for suitable choices of spatial periodicity and strain values, type-I and direct-gap superlattices, with strong dipole matrix elements, can be realized. Conceptually, we demonstrate that Ge single-element strained superlattices could be active materials for novel Si-compatible optical devices.
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