Epitaxial integration of direct-bandgap III–V compound semiconductors with silicon requires overcoming a significant lattice mismatch. To this end, GaAsP step-graded buffer layers are commonly applied. The thickness and composition of the individual layers are decisive for the envisaged strain relaxation. We study GaAsP growth by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy in situ with reflection anisotropy spectroscopy. We find that the growth surface exhibits optical fingerprints of atomically well-ordered surfaces. These allow for tuning the interface preparation between adjacent layers. The spectral position of the characteristic peaks in the RA spectra, which are related to surface-modified bulk transitions, behaves similarly upon an increased As content as does the E1 interband transition of GaAsP at the growth temperature. The impact of strain on this shift is negligible. We thus monitor a bulk property via the surface reconstruction. An empiric model enables quantification of the As content of individual layers directly in situ without growth interruptions and for various surface reconstructions. Our findings are suitable for a simplified optimization of the GaAsP buffer growth for high-efficiency devices.

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