Structural and Microstructural Characterization of III-Nitrides on 6H-SiC (0001) Substrates.

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Title: Structural and Microstructural Characterization of III-Nitrides on 6H-SiC (0001) Substrates.
Author: Preble, Edward Alfred
Advisors: Robert F. Davis, Chair
Zlatko Sitar, Member
John Hren, Member
Mohamed Bourham, Member
Abstract: Characterization of nitride films on 6H-SiC (0001) wafers via x-ray, TEM, and AFM was accomplished on standard GaN thin films with AlN or AlGaN buffer layers. TEM sample thinning capability was improved through the use of Nomarski in an optical microscope to gauge the thickness of the sample during preparation. TEM analysis was then completed of Au and Pt films deposited on chemical vapor cleaned GaN with annealed up to 800&$176;C. Chemical reactions were detected in x-ray measurements of the 800°C Pt samples and GaN/metal interface roughening were confirmed by TEM images in both metals. Interface roughening is attributed to the chemical reactions and interfacial stresses greater than the yield stress of the metal created during heat treatments by the difference in the thermal expansion coefficients of the GaN and the metals. The GaN rocking curves were found to track very closely to the values of the underlying substrate and changes in buffer layer growth temperatures were found to change the screw and edge dislocation populations of subsequent GaN layers. GaN grown on 1030°C AlN buffer layers showed the lowest edge dislocation populations when compared against buffers grown in the range of 1010-1220°C, even though the 1220°C AlN was much smoother. AlGaN buffer layers provided more edge dislocation reduction, with a 1090°C Al0.2Ga0.8N layer yielding the best GaN rocking curve values found in this work. GaN films with AlN buffer layers grown on hydrogen etched SiC substrates did not show rocking curve improvement when compared against samples with unetched substrates. The AlN layers showed extremely narrow, substrate limited, on-axis rocking curve values, but it is not clear as to whether additional defects are present that may broaden the off-axis rocking curves, causing the poorer results seen in the GaN films. Reciprocal space maps of uncoalesced, maskless pendeo epitaxy samples revealed that the wing regions are shielded from poor substrate material when compared against the seed material. The wing regions also have lower strain and rocking curve widths than the corresponding seed material.
Date: 2001-06-11
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Materials Science and Engineering

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