skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Step-induced misorientation of GaN grown on r-plane sapphire

Abstract

In the growth of nonpolar (1120) a-plane GaN on r-plane (1102) sapphire by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy, misoriented crystallites are observed close to the substrate. They have average diameter {approx}10 nm and are oriented with the (0001){sub GaN} plane approximately parallel to the (2113){sub sapph.} plane and [0110]{sub GaN} parallel [1101]{sub sapph.}. This semipolar orientation is promoted by a low misfit (2.4%) between (1011){sub GaN} and (1210){sub sapph.} planes. Its introduction, after nitridation treatment, is due to GaN nucleation on (2113){sub sapph.} step facets inclined at 26 deg. relative to the r-plane. Two variants are observed, leading to twinning when they abut inside the epilayer.

Authors:
; ; ;  [1]; ;  [2]
  1. Physics Department, Aristotle University, GR 54124 Thessaloniki (Greece)
  2. Microelectronics Research Group, Department of Physics, University of Crete, P.O. Box 2208, GR 71003, and IESL, FORTH, P.O. Box 1527, GR 71110 Heraklion (Greece)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21123967
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied Physics Letters; Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2953438; (c) 2008 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; CRYSTAL GROWTH; GALLIUM NITRIDES; LAYERS; MOLECULAR BEAM EPITAXY; NITRIDATION; NUCLEATION; PLASMA; PROCESSING; SAPPHIRE; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS

Citation Formats

Smalc-Koziorowska, J., Dimitrakopulos, G. P., Sahonta, S.-L., Komninou, Ph., Tsiakatouras, G., and Georgakilas, A. Step-induced misorientation of GaN grown on r-plane sapphire. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2953438.
Smalc-Koziorowska, J., Dimitrakopulos, G. P., Sahonta, S.-L., Komninou, Ph., Tsiakatouras, G., & Georgakilas, A. Step-induced misorientation of GaN grown on r-plane sapphire. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2953438.
Smalc-Koziorowska, J., Dimitrakopulos, G. P., Sahonta, S.-L., Komninou, Ph., Tsiakatouras, G., and Georgakilas, A. Mon . "Step-induced misorientation of GaN grown on r-plane sapphire". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2953438.
@article{osti_21123967,
title = {Step-induced misorientation of GaN grown on r-plane sapphire},
author = {Smalc-Koziorowska, J. and Dimitrakopulos, G. P. and Sahonta, S.-L. and Komninou, Ph. and Tsiakatouras, G. and Georgakilas, A.},
abstractNote = {In the growth of nonpolar (1120) a-plane GaN on r-plane (1102) sapphire by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy, misoriented crystallites are observed close to the substrate. They have average diameter {approx}10 nm and are oriented with the (0001){sub GaN} plane approximately parallel to the (2113){sub sapph.} plane and [0110]{sub GaN} parallel [1101]{sub sapph.}. This semipolar orientation is promoted by a low misfit (2.4%) between (1011){sub GaN} and (1210){sub sapph.} planes. Its introduction, after nitridation treatment, is due to GaN nucleation on (2113){sub sapph.} step facets inclined at 26 deg. relative to the r-plane. Two variants are observed, leading to twinning when they abut inside the epilayer.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2953438},
journal = {Applied Physics Letters},
number = 2,
volume = 93,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jul 14 00:00:00 EDT 2008},
month = {Mon Jul 14 00:00:00 EDT 2008}
}
  • Anisotropic strain relaxation and the resulting degree of polarization of the electronic transition in nonpolar a-plane GaN using one- and two-step growth are studied. By using two-step growth, a slower coalescence and a longer roughening-recovery process lead to larger anisotropic strain relaxation, a less striated surface, and lower densities of basal stacking fault (BSF) and prismatic stacking fault (PSF). It is suggested that anisotropic in-plane strains, surface striation, and BSF and PSF densities in nonpolar a-GaN are consequences of the rate of coalescence, the period of roughening-recovery process, and the degree of anisotropic strain relaxation. In addition, the two-step growthmore » mode can enhance the degree of polarization of the electronic transition. The simulation results of the k⋅p perturbation approach show that the oscillator strength and degree of polarization of the electronic transition strongly depend on the in-plane strains upon anisotropic in-plane strain relaxation. The research results provide important information for optimized growth of nonpolar III-nitrides. By using two-step growth and by fabricating the devices on the high-quality nonpolar free-standing GaN substrates, high-efficiency nonpolar a-plane InGaN LEDs can be realized. Nonpolar a-plane InGaN/GaN LEDs can exhibit a strongly polarized light to improve the contrast, glare, eye discomfort and eye strain, and efficiency in display application.« less
  • We have performed a detailed study of the impact of basal plane stacking faults (BSFs) on the optical properties of both a-plane InGaN/GaN quantum wells (QWs) and GaN template samples grown on r-sapphire. In particular, we have used polarised photoluminescence excitation spectroscopy (P-PLE) to investigate the nature of the low temperature recombination as well as extracting information on the valence band (VB) polarisation anisotropy. Our low temperature P-PLE results revealed not only excitons associated with intersubband quantum well transitions and the GaN barrier material but also a transition associated with creation of excitons in BSFs. The strength of this BSFmore » transition varied with detection energy across the quantum well emission suggesting that there is a significant contribution to the emission line width from changes in the local electronic environment of the QWs due to interactions with BSFs. Furthermore, we observed a corresponding progressive increase in the VB splitting of the QWs as the detection energy was varied across the quantum well emission spectrum.« less
  • Heteroepitaxial non-polar III-Nitride layers may exhibit extensive anisotropy in the surface morphology and the epilayer microstructure along distinct in-plane directions. The structural anisotropy, evidenced by the “M”-shape dependence of the (112{sup ¯}0) x-ray rocking curve widths on the beam azimuth angle, was studied by combining transmission electron microscopy observations, Raman spectroscopy, high resolution x-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy in a-plane GaN epilayers grown on r-plane sapphire substrates by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy (PAMBE). The structural anisotropic behavior was attributed quantitatively to the high dislocation densities, particularly the Frank-Shockley partial dislocations that delimit the I{sub 1} intrinsic basal stacking faults,more » and to the concomitant plastic strain relaxation. On the other hand, isotropic samples exhibited lower dislocation densities and a biaxial residual stress state. For PAMBE growth, the anisotropy was correlated to N-rich (or Ga-poor) conditions on the surface during growth, that result in formation of asymmetric a-plane GaN grains elongated along the c-axis. Such conditions enhance the anisotropy of gallium diffusion on the surface and reduce the GaN nucleation rate.« less
  • This paper reports the growth by molecular beam epitaxy of AlN and GaN thin films on R-plane sapphire substrates. Contrary to previous findings that GaN grows with its (1120) A-plane parallel to the (1102) R-plane of sapphire, our results indicate that the crystallographic orientation of the III-nitride films is strongly dependent on the kinetic conditions of growth for the GaN or AlN buffer layers. Thus, group III-rich conditions for growth of either GaN or AlN buffers result in nitride films having (1120) planes parallel to the sapphire surface, and basal-plane stacking faults parallel to the growth direction. The growth ofmore » these buffers under N-rich conditions instead leads to nitride films with (1126) planes parallel to the sapphire surface, with inclined c-plane stacking faults that often terminate threading dislocations. Moreover, electron microscope observations indicate that slight miscut ({approx}0.5 deg. ) of the R-plane sapphire substrate almost completely suppresses the formation of twinning defects in the (1126) GaN films.« less
  • We demonstrate that relatively small GaN substrate misorientation can strongly change hole carrier concentration in Mg doped GaN layers grown by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy. In this work intentionally misoriented GaN substrates (up to 2 deg. with respect to ideal <0001> plane) were employed. An increase in the hole carrier concentration to the level above 10{sup 18} cm{sup -3} and a decrease in GaN:Mg resistivity below 1 {omega} cm were achieved. Using secondary ion mass spectroscopy we found that Mg incorporation does not change with varying misorientation angle. This finding suggests that the compensation rate, i.e., a decrease in unintentionalmore » donor density, is responsible for the observed increase in the hole concentration. Analysis of the temperature dependence of electrical transport confirms this interpretation.« less