Aluminium gallium arsenide

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Aluminium gallium arsenide (also aluminum gallium arsenide) (AlxGa1-xAs) is a semiconductor material with very nearly the same lattice constant as GaAs, but a larger bandgap. The x in the formula above is a number between 0 and 1 - this indicates an arbitrary alloy between GaAs and AlAs.

The bandgap varies between 1.42 eV (GaAs) and 2.16 eV (AlAs). For x < 0.4, the bandgap is direct.

The formula AlGaAs should be considered an abbreviated form of the above, rather than any particular ratio.

Aluminium gallium arsenide is used as a barrier material in GaAs based heterostructure devices. The AlGaAs layer confines the electrons to a gallium arsenide region. An example of such a device is a quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP).

It can also be used in 1064 nm (Infra-red) laser diodes.

Safety and toxicity aspects

The toxicology of AlGaAs has not been fully investigated. The dust is an irritant to skin, eyes and lungs. The environment, health and safety aspects of aluminium gallium arsenide sources (such as trimethylgallium and arsine) and industrial hygiene monitoring studies of standard MOVPE sources have been reported recently in a review [1].

References

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