Abstract

The effect of surface roughness on the ellipsometric response of semiconductor surfaces is investigated. CdTe(211)B layers were grown on Ge(211) by molecular beam epitaxy using less than optimal growth conditions to enhance the formation of surface roughness. Their optical properties, measured by rotating-compensator ellipsometry, showed small but significant sample-to-sample differences not explainable in terms of nanometer-scale roughness. A critical-point analysis established that the critical-point structure of the dielectric function was the same for all samples. This result suggested that the observed sample-to-sample variations were due to macroscopic roughness, which scatters off-specular light into the detector, thereby causing errors. We introduced tentative corrections for off-specular reflection that fitted the observed differences and thus supported the idea that off-specular reflection was responsible for the observed differences. These results were obtained using CdTe but are easily extensible to other rough opaque materials.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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