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Band gap

The band gap of GaAs is 1.42 eV; resulting in photon emission in the infra-red range. Alloying GaAs with Al to give Al x Ga 1-x As can extend the band gap into the visible red range. Unlike Si, the band gap of GaAs is direct, i.e., the transition between the valence band maximum and conduction band minimum involves no momentum change and hence does not require a collaborative particle interaction to occur. Photon generation by inter-band radiative recombination is therefore possible in GaAs. Whereas in Si, with an indirect band-gap, this process is too inefficient to be of use. The ability to convert electrical energy into light forms the basis of the use of GaAs, and its alloys, in optoelectronics; for example in light emitting diodes (LEDs), solid state lasers (light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation).

A significant drawback of small band gap semiconductors, such as Si, is that electrons may be thermally promoted from the valence band to the conduction band. Thus, with increasing temperature the thermal generation of carriers eventually becomes dominant over the intentionally doped level of carriers. The wider band gap of GaAs gives it the ability to remain 'intentionally' semiconducting at higher temperatures; GaAs devices are generally more stable to high temperatures than a similar Si devices.

Carrier density

The low intrinsic carrier density of GaAs in a pure (undoped) form indicates that GaAs is intrinsically a very poor conductor and is commonly referred to as being semi-insulating. This property is usually altered by adding dopants of either the p- (positive) or n- (negative) type. This semi-insulating property allows many active devices to be grown on a single substrate, where the semi-insulating GaAs provides the electrical isolation of each device; an important feature in the miniaturization of electronic circuitry, i.e., VLSI (very-large-scale-integration) involving over 100,000 components per chip (one chip is typically between 1 and 10 mm square).

Electron mobility

The higher electron mobility in GaAs than in Si potentially means that in devices where electron transit time is the critical performance parameter, GaAs devices will operate with higher response times than equivalent Si devices. However, the fact that hole mobility is similar for both GaAs and Si means that devices relying on cooperative electron and hole movement, or hole movement alone, show no improvement in response time when GaAs based.

Crystal growth

The bulk crystal growth of GaAs presents a problem of stoichiometric control due the loss, by evaporation, of arsenic both in the melt and the growing crystal (> ca. 600 °C). Melt growth techniques are, therefore, designed to enable an overpressure of arsenic above the melt to be maintained, thus preventing evaporative losses. The loss of arsenic also negates diffusion techniques commonly used for wafer doping in Si technology; since the diffusion temperatures required exceed that of arsenic loss.

Crystal stress

The thermal gradient and, hence, stress generated in melt grown crystals have limited the maximum diameter of GaAs wafers (currently 6" diameter compared to over 12" for Si), because with increased wafer diameters the thermal stress generated dislocation (crystal imperfections) densities eventually becomes unacceptable for device applications.

Physical strength

Gallium arsenide single crystals are very brittle, requiring that considerably thicker substrates than those employed for Si devices.

Native oxide

Gallium arsenide's native oxide is found to be a mixture of non-stoichiometric gallium and arsenic oxides and elemental arsenic. Thus, the electronic band structure is found to be severely disrupted causing a breakdown in 'normal' semiconductor behavior on the GaAs surface. As a consequence, the GaAs MISFET (metal-insulator-semiconductor-field-effect-transistor) equivalent to the technologically important Si based MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor-field-effect-transistor) is, therefore, presently unavailable.

The passivation of the surface of GaAs is therefore a key issue when endeavoring to utilize the FET technology using GaAs. Passivation in this discussion means the reduction in mid-gap band states which destroy the semiconducting properties of the material. Additionally, this also means the production of a chemically inert coating which prevents the formation of additional reactive states, which can effect the properties of the device.


  • S. K. Ghandhi, VLSI Fabrication Principles: Silicon and Gallium Arsenide. Wiley-Interscience, New York, (1994).
  • Properties of Gallium Arsenide. Ed. M. R. Brozel and G. E. Stillman. 3rd Ed. Institution of Electrical Engineers, London (1996).

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of electronic materials. OpenStax CNX. Aug 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10719/1.9
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