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Title: InGaN/GaN quantum wells grown on polar and nonpolar GaN substrates
Authors: Lai, Kun-Yu Alvin
Advisors: Mark Johnson, Committee Co-Chair
Keywords: GaN
quantum well
metal-organic chemical vapor deposition
quantum dot
light emitting diode
Issue Date: 3-Jun-2009
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Electrical Engineering
Abstract: Nonpolar (m-plane or a-plane) gallium nitride (GaN) is predicted to be a potential substrate material to improve luminous efficiencies of nitride-based quantum wells (QWs). Numerical calculations indicated that the spontaneous emission rate in a single In0.15Ga0.85N/GaN QW could be improved by ~2.2 times if the polarization-induced internal field was avoided by epitaxial deposition on nonpolar substrates. A challenge for nonpolar GaN is the limited size (less than 10×10 mm2) of substrates, which was addressed by expansion during the regrowth by Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy (HVPE). Subsurface damage in GaN substrates were reduced by annealing with NH3 and N2 at 950 ºC for 60 minutes. It was additionally found that the variation of m-plane QWs’ emission properties was significantly increased when the substrate miscut toward a-axis was increased from 0º to 0.1º. InGaN/GaN QWs were grown by Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) on c-plane and m-plane GaN substrates. The QWs were studied by cathodoluminescence spectroscopy with different incident electron beam probe currents (0.1 nA ~ 1000 nA). Lower emission intensities and longer peak wavelengths from c-plane QWs were attributed to the Quantum-confined Stark Effect (QCSE). The emission intensity ratios of m-plane QWs to c-plane QWs decreased from 3.04 at 1 nA to 1.53 at 1000 nA. This was identified as the stronger screening effects of QCSE at higher current densities in c-plane QWs. To further investigate these effects in a fabricated structure, biased photoluminescence measurements were performed on m-plane InGaN/GaN QWs. The purpose was to detect the possible internal fields induced by the dot-like structure in the InGaN layer through the response of these internal fields under externally applied fields. No energy shifts of the QWs were observed, which was attributed to strong surface leakage currents.
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