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Microstructure of BAlN and InGaN epilayers for optoelectronic applications

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In this dissertation, various characterization techniques have been used to investigate many aspects of the properties of III-nitride materials and devices for optoelectronic applications.

The first part of this work

In this dissertation, various characterization techniques have been used to investigate many aspects of the properties of III-nitride materials and devices for optoelectronic applications.

The first part of this work is focused on the evolution of microstructures of BAlN thin films. The films were grown by flow-modulated epitaxy at 1010 oC, with B/(B+Al) gas-flow ratios ranging from 0.06 to 0.18. The boron content obtained from X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns ranges from x = 0.02 to 0.09, while Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) measures x = 0.06 to 0.16. Transmission electron microscopy indicates the sole presence of the wurtzite crystal structure in the BAlN films, and a tendency towards twin formation and finer microstructure for B/(B+Al) gas-flow ratios greater than 0.15. The RBS data suggest that the incorporation of B is highly efficient, while the XRD data indicate that the epitaxial growth may be limited by a solubility limit in the crystal phase at about 9%. Electron energy loss spectroscopy has been used to profile spatial variations in the composition of the films. It has also located point defects in the films with nanometer resolution. The defects are identified as B and Al interstitials and N vacancies by comparison of the observed energy thresholds with results of density functional theory calculations.

The second part of this work investigates dislocation clusters observed in thick InxGa1-xN films with 0.07 ≤ x ≤ 0.12. The clusters resemble baskets with a higher indium content at their interior. Threading dislocations at the basket boundaries are of the misfit edge type, and their separation is consistent with misfit strain relaxation due the difference in indium content between the baskets and the surrounding matrix. The base of the baskets exhibits no observable misfit dislocations connected to the threading dislocations, and often no net displacements like those due to stacking faults. It is argued that the origin of these threading dislocation arrays is associated with misfit dislocations at the basal plane that dissociate, forming stacking faults. When the stacking faults form simultaneously satisfying the crystal symmetry, the sum of their translation vectors does add up to zero, consistent with our experimental observations.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Role of impurities on deformation of HCP crystal: a multiscale approach

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Commercially pure (CP) and extra low interstitial (ELI) grade Ti-alloys present excellent corrosion resistance, lightweight, and formability making them attractive materials for expanded use in transportation and medical applications. However,

Commercially pure (CP) and extra low interstitial (ELI) grade Ti-alloys present excellent corrosion resistance, lightweight, and formability making them attractive materials for expanded use in transportation and medical applications. However, the strength and toughness of CP titanium are affected by relatively small variations in their impurity/solute content (IC), e.g., O, Al, and V. This increase in strength is due to the fact that the solute either increases the critical stress required for the prismatic slip systems ({10-10}<1-210>) or activates another slip system ((0001)<11-20>, {10-11}<11-20>). In particular, solute additions such as O can effectively strengthen the alloy but with an attendant loss in ductility by changing the behavior from wavy (cross slip) to planar nature. In order to understand the underlying behavior of strengthening by solutes, it is important to understand the atomic scale mechanism. This dissertation aims to address this knowledge gap through a synergistic combination of density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics. Further, due to the long-range strain fields of the dislocations and the periodicity of the DFT simulation cells, it is difficult to apply ab initio simulations to study the dislocation core structure. To alleviate this issue we developed a multiscale quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics approach (QM/MM) to study the dislocation core. We use the developed QM/MM method to study the pipe diffusion along a prismatic edge dislocation core. Complementary to the atomistic simulations, the Semi-discrete Variational Peierls-Nabarro model (SVPN) was also used to analyze the dislocation core structure and mobility. The chemical interaction between the solute/impurity and the dislocation core is captured by the so-called generalized stacking fault energy (GSFE) surface which was determined from DFT-VASP calculations. By taking the chemical interaction into consideration the SVPN model can predict the dislocation core structure and mobility in the presence and absence of the solute/impurity and thus reveal the effect of impurity/solute on the softening/hardening behavior in alpha-Ti. Finally, to study the interaction of the dislocation core with other planar defects such as grain boundaries (GB), we develop an automated method to theoretically generate GBs in HCP type materials.

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Date Created
  • 2014