Innovation and Partnerships Office

Direct Growth of Single Crystalline III-V Semiconductors on Amorphous Substrates 2016-037


  • High performance solar cells
  • Electronic and optoelectronic devices, e.g., transistors, photodetectors, lasers


  • Less costly and complex than current methods
  • Growth on amorphous substrates
  • Applicable to a range of III-V materials


A Berkeley Lab team of researchers led by Ali Javey has developed a technology for direct growth of single crystalline III-V semiconductors onto any substrate, reducing the cost and processing complexity for materials key to photovoltaic and optoelectronic applications.

Berkeley Lab’s Templated Liquid Phase (TLP) crystal growth technology is a synthetic approach for growth of high performance, nano- and micro-scale single crystalline compound semiconductors with user-defined geometries on arbitrary substrates. While InP was used as a model growth system in this work, the TLP crystal growth method is one that, from a thermodynamic and kinetic point of view, is expected to be applicable to other technologically important III-V materials.

Unlike the Berkeley Lab technology, alternative methods require closely lattice-matched epitaxial substrates for growth of high quality single-crystal III-V thin films and patterned microstructures. Approaches including epitaxial growth of thin films on single-crystalline substrates followed by selective layer transfer to a desired substrate, and several types of nanowire growth, have yet to show direct growth of single-crystalline semiconductors with user-defined geometries and dimensions on amorphous substrates. The Berkeley Lab technology encompasses these abilities via pre-patterning the group III element followed by subsequent growth with the group V element introduced via the vapor phase, offering major advantages in terms of compatibility with traditional device processing technology, scalability, and processing cost. Additionally, it provides a direct pathway to three-dimensional integration of electronic materials and devices with appreciable levels of complexity.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.

Chen, K., Kapadia, R., Harker, A., Desai, S., Kang, J., Chuang, S., Tosun, M., Sutter-Fella, C., Tsang, M., Zeng, Y., Kiriya, D., Hazra, J., Madhvapathy, S., Hettick, M., Chen, Y.-Z., Mastandrea, J., Amani, M., Cabrini, S., Chuech, Y.-L., Ager, J., Chrzan, D., Javey, A., Direct Growth of Single-crystalline III–V Semiconductors on Amorphous Substrates. Nature Communications . doi: 10.1038/ncomms10502 (2016).

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.


Direct Thin Film Path to Low Cost, Large Area III-V Photovoltaics, IB-2013-069

Ternary Compound Nanocrystals for Photovoltaic Devices, IB-2740

Optofluidic 3D Printing, 2015-028