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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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  • 2018

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Nanoscale Electronic Properties in GaN Based Structures for Power Electronics Using Electron Microscopy

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The availability of bulk gallium nitride (GaN) substrates has generated great interest in the development of vertical GaN-on-GaN power devices. The vertical devices made of GaN have not been able

The availability of bulk gallium nitride (GaN) substrates has generated great interest in the development of vertical GaN-on-GaN power devices. The vertical devices made of GaN have not been able to reach their true potential due to material growth related issues. Power devices typically have patterned p-n, and p-i junctions in lateral, and vertical direction relative to the substrate. Identifying the variations from the intended layer design is crucial for failure analysis of the devices. A most commonly used dopant profiling technique, secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), does not have the spatial resolution to identify the dopant distribution in patterned devices. The possibility of quantitative dopant profiling at a sub-micron scale for GaN in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is discussed. The total electron yield in an SEM is shown to be a function of dopant concentration which can potentially be used for quantitative dopant profiling.

Etch-and-regrowth is a commonly employed strategy to generate the desired patterned p-n and p-i junctions. The devices involving etch-and-regrowth have poor performance characteristics like high leakage currents, and lower breakdown voltages. This is due to damage induced by the dry etching process, and the nature of the regrowth interface, which is important to understand in order to address the key issue of leakage currents in etched and regrown devices. Electron holography is used for electrostatic potential profiling across the regrowth interfaces to identify the charges introduced by the etching process. SIMS is used to identify the impurities introduced at the interfaces due to etch-and-regrowth process.

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Date Created
  • 2019