Controlling Surface Morphology and Circumventing Secondary Phase Formation in Non-polar m-GaN by Tuning Nitrogen Activity

C. W. Chang, P. V. Wadekar, S. S. Guo, Y. J. Cheng, M. Chou, H. C. Huang, W. C. Hsieh, W. C. Lai, Q. Y. Chen, L. W. Tu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


For the development of non-polar nitrides based optoelectronic devices, high-quality films with smooth surfaces, free of defects or clusters, are critical. In this work, the mechanisms governing the topography and single phase epitaxy of non-polar m-plane gallium nitride (m-GaN) thin films are studied. The samples were grown using plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy on m-plane sapphire substrates. Growth of pure m-GaN thin films, concomitant with smooth surfaces is possible at low radio frequency powers and high growth temperatures as judged by the high resolution x-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy measurements. Defect types and densities are quantified using transmission electron microscopy, while Raman spectroscopy was used to analyze the in-plane stress in the thin films which matches the lattice mismatch analysis. Energy dispersive spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence support a congruent growth and a dominant near band edge emission. From the analysis, a narrow growth window is discovered wherein epitaxial growth of pure m-plane GaN samples free of secondary phases with narrow rocking curves and considerable smooth surfaces are successfully demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

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