Compound Semiconductor Science and Technology


Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

Capability Expert

Jeff Nelson, Bob Biefeld, Dan Koleske, Andy Allerman, Greg Peake, John Reno


Material Synthesis

Node Readiness Category

1: Photoelectrochemical (PEC)


Most Compound Semiconductor R&D takes place in Sandia's new Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex. MESA is intended to facilitate collaboration among diverse technical organizations and sharing of capabilities. The complex provides a state-of-the-art facility for quick-turnaround research-and-development-scale synthesis, fabrication, characterization and modeling of compound semiconductor microsystems, including semiconductor materials and heterostructures of interest to hydrogen generation science.
In addition, staff and external partners perform research on compound semiconductors at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). CINT is one of five Office of Science supported Nanoscale Science Research Centers in the nation, housing state-of-the-art capabilities for the integration of nanoscience concepts and structures into the micro and macro worlds. Also, senior staff carry-out research in their own individual laboratory facilities – typically these are facilities with capabilities focused on particular synthesis, characterization or modeling techniques.
One of our major capabilities is the senior staff operating the epitaxial growth systems. MESA and CINT have extensive capabilities to prepare compound semiconductor materials and devices using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) or molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Currently at Sandia, there are four D-125 Veeco Turbo-disk MOCVD systems, a Taiyo Nippon-Sanso nitride MOCVD system, and four MBE systems. This capability can prepare semiconductors from across the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet wavelength ranges, including Sb, As, P, N based III-V alloys. These systems are all operated by senior staff with world renowned reputations.
MESA and CINT contain all of the equipment needed to process state of the art devices such as an electron beam lithography system (JEOL JBX-5FE), aligners with one operating in deep UV, e-beam metal evaporators, metal plating baths, rapid thermal annealing systems, field emission and filament scanning electron microscopes, atomic force microscope, an ALD system, several sputtering systems for metals and dielectrics, 2 oxidation furnaces, and coupled electron cyclotron resonance/inductively coupled plasma (ICP) reactive ion etching (RIE) etch/deposition systems, a Bosch ICP etch system, several smaller RIE systems and a full array of characterization and packaging tools.

Capability Bounds‎

MESA and CINT are fully capable of generating any desired compound semiconductor materials or devices.

Unique Aspects‎

The MESA complex is the largest ($600M) government investment in microtechnology in the world and CINT is one of five Office of Science supported Nanoscale Science Research Centers in the nation, housing state-of-the-art capabilities for the integration of nanoscience concepts and structures into the micro and macro worlds. These capabilities, including the staff operating them, are unique in the government complex and have an extensive and accomplished history in compound semiconductor and optical sciences.


The capability at CINT will be available to staff, students, and visitors since it is a user's center and it is located in the Sandia Technology Park outside of the limited area. Parts of MESA have limited area access but all of the staff and many of the characterization tools are easily accessible. Different types of agreements can be executed that allow access to the capabilities and external interactions with the staff that operate MESA and CINT.


MESA and CINT can benefit HydroGEN by making state of the art semiconductor materials, devices, and characterization tools available to the project.



As a reference, the six epitaxial III-V crystal growth staff have over 1000 scientific journal publications.
1. A. L. Lentine, G.N. Nielson, M. Okandan, J.L. Cruz-Campa, A. Tauke-Pedretti, Voltage Matching and Optimal Cell Compositions for Microsystem-Enabled Photovoltaic Modules; IEEE Journal Of Photovoltaics, 4, 1593 (2014).
2. J.A. Curtis, T. Tokumoto, A.T. Hatke, J.G. Cherian, J. L. Reno, S.A. McGill, D. Karaiskaj, D. J.Hilton, Cyclotron decay time of a two-dimensional electron gas from 0.4 to 100 K; Physical Review B, 93, 155437 (2015).
3. K. W. Williams, N.R. Monahan, D. D. Koleske, M. H. Crawford, and X.-Y. Zhu, Ultrafast and band-selective Auger recombination in InGaN quantum wells, Appl. Phys. Lett. 108, 141105 (2016).