The heavy-hole and light-hole excitons of a CdTe epilayer, pseudomorphically grown on an InSb epilayer by molecular beam epitaxy, are studied with a diamond anvil cell as a function of applied hydrostatic pressure via photoluminescence (PL) and photomodulated reflectivity (PR) spectroscopies. They are compared with the excitonic features in the simultaneously measured PL spectra of a sample of bulk CdTe. Under applied pressure, the lattice mismatch-induced splitting between the light-hole and heavy-hole related transitions increases in a continuous and reversible manner because of the additional pressure-induced compression due to the difference in the compressibilities of CdTe and InSb. The unusually large strain sustained by the CdTe epilayer under pressure is discussed in the light of various models. The PR signal vanishes after the InSb epilayer goes through a structural phase transition at approximately 20 kbar, while the PL signal persists until it is irreversibly quenched by the CdTe epilayer undergoing a structural phase transition at approximately 30 kbar. For pressures between 20 and 30 kbar, the behavior of the CdTe epilayer is similar to that of the bulk sample; the strain appears to have been relaxed due to the structural phase transition which has taken place in InSb. Values of the first- and second-order pressure coefficients for bulk CdTe and for the CdTe epilayer as well as values of the hydrostatic and shear deformation potentials are obtained at 14 and 80 K and compared with previously quoted values.
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