Open Access Version

Renewable and efficient generation of hydrogen is one of the key challenges towards a society being independent from fossil fuels. Tandem absorber structures based on dilute nitride GaPN/Si(100) are promising candidates regarding hydrogen evolution by direct solar water splitting. Their production by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) is challenging, particularly regarding specific preparation of the interfaces. Due to the small lattice mismatch, GaP/Si(100) structures are suitable as quasisubstrates for further integration of III-V semiconductors. In the present work, the atomic order of Si(100) and GaP(N)/Si(100) surfaces, as well as of the buried GaP/Si(100) heterointerface is studied in situ with reflection anisotropy spectroscopy (RAS). RAS results are benchmarked to results from complementary surface science techniques in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV), such as low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Preparation of almost single-domain dimerized Si(100) surfaces succeeds in MOVPE ambient containing (Ga, P) background residuals and can be controlled in situ with RAS. The sublattice orientation of the GaP films can thereby be selected (i) via the dimer orientation on the Si substrate, (ii) via the (Ga,P) chemical potential during nucleation, or (iii) via modification of the Si surface with As. Correlating time-resolved RAS and XPS measurements as well as density functional theory calculations, for typical process conditions it can be concluded on a kinetically limited formation of a Si-P interface. Subsequent to a GaP nucleation layer, which is only few atomic layers thick, GaPN/Si(100) surfaces free of antiphase disorder can be prepared. These reconstruct in analogy to GaP/Si(100) surfaces if excess N is avoided.