Matching Items (12)

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Structural and optical properties of II-VI and III-V compound semiconductors

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This dissertation is on the study of structural and optical properties of some III-V and II-VI compound semiconductors. The first part of this dissertation is a study of the deformation

This dissertation is on the study of structural and optical properties of some III-V and II-VI compound semiconductors. The first part of this dissertation is a study of the deformation mechanisms associated with nanoindentation and nanoscratching of InP, GaN, and ZnO crystals. The second part is an investigation of some fundamental issues regarding compositional fluctuations and microstructure in GaInNAs and InAlN alloys. In the first part, the microstructure of (001) InP scratched in an atomic force microscope with a small diamond tip has been studied as a function of applied normal force and crystalline direction in order to understand at the nanometer scale the deformation mechanisms in the zinc-blende structure. TEM images show deeper dislocation propagation for scratches along <110> compared to <100>. High strain fields were observed in <100> scratches, indicating hardening due to locking of dislocations gliding on different slip planes. Reverse plastic flow have been observed in <110> scratches in the form of pop-up events that result from recovery of stored elastic strain. In a separate study, nanoindentation-induced plastic deformation has been studied in c-, a-, and m-plane ZnO single crystals and c-plane GaN respectively, to study the deformation mechanism in wurtzite hexagonal structures. TEM results reveal that the prime deformation mechanism is slip on basal planes and in some cases, on pyramidal planes, and strain built up along particular directions. No evidence of phase transformation or cracking was observed in both materials. CL imaging reveals quenching of near band-edge emission by dislocations. In the second part, compositional inhomogeneity in quaternary GaInNAs and ternary InAlN alloys has been studied using TEM. It is shown that exposure to antimony during growth of GaInNAs results in uniform chemical composition in the epilayer, as antimony suppresses the surface mobility of adatoms that otherwise leads to two-dimensional growth and elemental segregation. In a separate study, compositional instability is observed in lattice-matched InAlN films grown on GaN, for growth beyond a certain thickness. Beyond 200 nm of thickness, two sub-layers with different indium content are observed, the top one with lower indium content.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Optical characterization of III nitride semiconductors using cathodoluminescence techniques

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Group III-nitride semiconductors have attracted much attention for applications on high brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes (LDs) operating in the visible and ultra-violet spectral range using indium gallium

Group III-nitride semiconductors have attracted much attention for applications on high brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes (LDs) operating in the visible and ultra-violet spectral range using indium gallium nitride in the active layer. However, the device efficiency in the green to red range is limited by quantum-confined Stark effects resulting from the lattice mismatch between GaN and InGaN. In this dissertation, the optical and micro-structural properties of GaN-based light emitting structures have been analyzed and correlated by utilizing cathodoluminescence and transmission electron microscopy techniques. In the first section, optimization of the design of GaN-based lasers diode structures is presented. The thermal strain present in the GaN underlayer grown on sapphire substrates causes a strain-induced wavelength shift. The insertion of an InGaN waveguide mitigates the mismatch strain at the interface between the InGaN quantum well and the GaN quantum barrier. The second section of the thesis presents a study of the characteristics of thick non-polar m-plane InGaN films and of LED structures containing InGaN quantum wells, which minimize polarization-related electric fields. It is found that in some cases the in-plane piezoelectric fields can still occur due to the existence of misfit dislocations which break the continuity of the film. In the final section, the optical and structural properties of InGaAlN quaternary alloys are analyzed and correlated. The composition of the components of the film is accurately determined by Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Modeling, growth and characterization of III-V and dilute nitride antimonide materials and solar cells

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III-V multijunction solar cells have demonstrated record efficiencies with the best device currently at 46 % under concentration. Dilute nitride materials such as GaInNAsSb have been identified as a prime

III-V multijunction solar cells have demonstrated record efficiencies with the best device currently at 46 % under concentration. Dilute nitride materials such as GaInNAsSb have been identified as a prime choice for the development of high efficiency, monolithic and lattice-matched multijunction solar cells as they can be lattice-matched to both GaAs and Ge substrates. These types of cells have demonstrated efficiencies of 44% for terrestrial concentrators, and with their upright configuration, they are a direct drop-in product for today’s space and concentrator solar panels. The work presented in this dissertation has focused on the development of relatively novel dilute nitride antimonide (GaNAsSb) materials and solar cells using plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy, along with the modeling and characterization of single- and multijunction solar cells.

Nitrogen-free ternary compounds such as GaInAs and GaAsSb were investigated first in order to understand their structural and optical properties prior to introducing nitrogen. The formation of extended defects and the resulting strain relaxation in these lattice-mismatched materials is investigated through extensive structural characterization. Temperature- and power-dependent photoluminescence revealed an inhomogeneous distribution of Sb in GaAsSb films, leading to carrier localization effects at low temperatures. Tuning of the growth parameters was shown to suppress these Sb-induced localized states.

The introduction of nitrogen was then considered and the growth process was optimized to obtain high quality GaNAsSb films lattice-matched to GaAs. Near 1-eV single-junction GaNAsSb solar cells were produced. The best devices used a p-n heterojunction configuration and demonstrated a current density of 20.8 mA/cm2, a fill factor of 64 % and an open-circuit voltage of 0.39 V, corresponding to a bandgap-voltage offset of 0.57 V, comparable with the state-of-the-art for this type of solar cells. Post-growth annealing was found to be essential to improve Voc but was also found to degrade the material quality of the top layers. Alternatives are discussed to improve this process. Unintentional high background doping was identified as the main factor limiting the device performance. The use of Bi-surfactant mediated growth is proposed for the first time for this material system to reduce this background doping and preliminary results are presented.

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  • 2017

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Optical Properties of III-Nitride Semiconductors for Power Electronics and Photovoltaics

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This dissertation covers my doctoral research on the cathodoluminescence (CL) study of the optical properties of III-niride semiconductors.

The first part of this thesis focuses on the optical properties of

This dissertation covers my doctoral research on the cathodoluminescence (CL) study of the optical properties of III-niride semiconductors.

The first part of this thesis focuses on the optical properties of Mg-doped gallium nitride (GaN:Mg) epitaxial films. GaN is an emerging material for power electronics, especially for high power and high frequency applications. Compared to traditional Si-based devices, GaN-based devices offer superior breakdown properties, faster switching speed, and reduced system size. Some of the current device designs involve lateral p-n junctions which require selective-area doping. Dopant distribution in the selectively-doped regions is a critical issue that can impact the device performance. While most studies on Mg doping in GaN have been reported for epitaxial grown on flat c-plane substrates, questions arise regarding the Mg doping efficiency and uniformity in selectively-doped regions, where growth on surfaces etched away from the exact c-plane orientation is involved. Characterization of doping concentration distribution in lateral structures using secondary ion mass spectroscopy lacks the required spatial resolution. In this work, visualization of acceptor distribution in GaN:Mg epilayers grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) was achieved at sub-micron scale using CL imaging. This was enabled by establishing a correlation among the luminescence characteristics, acceptor concentration, and electrical conductivity of GaN:Mg epilayers. Non-uniformity in acceptor distribution has been observed in epilayers grown on mesa structures and on miscut substrates. It is shown that non-basal-plane surfaces, such as mesa sidewalls and surface step clusters, promotes lateral growth along the GaN basal planes with a reduced Mg doping efficiency. The influence of surface morphology on the Mg doping efficiency in GaN has been studied.

The second part of this thesis focuses on the optical properties of InGaN for photovoltaic applications. The effects of thermal annealing and low energy electron beam irradiation (LEEBI) on the optical properties of MOCVD-grown In0.14Ga0.86N films were studied. A multi-fold increase in luminescence intensity was observed after 800 °C thermal annealing or LEEBI treatment. The mechanism leading to the luminescence intensity increase has been discussed. This study shows procedures that significantly improve the luminescence efficiency of InGaN, which is important for InGaN-based optoelectronic devices.

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  • 2020

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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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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

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Structural and Optical Properties of III-V Semiconductor Materials for Photovoltaics and Power Electronic Applications

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This dissertation focuses on the structural and optical properties of III-V semiconductor materials. Transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy are used to study at the nanometer scale, the structural

This dissertation focuses on the structural and optical properties of III-V semiconductor materials. Transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy are used to study at the nanometer scale, the structural properties of defects, interfaces, and surfaces. A correlation with optical properties has been performed using cathodoluminescence.

The dissertation consists of four parts. The first part focuses on InAs quantum dots (QDs) embedded in a GaInP matrix for applications into intermediate band solar cells. The CuPt ordering of the group-III elements in Ga0.5In0.5P has been found to vary during growth of InAs QDs capped with GaAs. The degree of ordering depends on the deposition time of the QDs and on the thickness of the capping layer. The results indicate that disordered GaInP occurs in the presence of excess indium at the growth front.

The second part focuses on the effects of low-angle off-axis GaN substrate orientation and growth rates on the surface morphology of Mg-doped GaN epilayers. Mg doping produces periodic steps and a tendency to cover pinholes associated with threading dislocations. With increasing miscut angle, the steps are observed to increase in height from single to double basal planes, with the coexistence of surfaces with different inclinations. The structural properties are correlated with the electronic properties of GaN epilayers, indicating step bunching reduces the p-type doping efficiency. It is also found that the slower growth rates can enhance step-flow growth and suppress step bunching.

The third part focuses on the effects of inductively-coupled plasma etching on GaN epilayers. The results show that ion energy rather than ion density plays the key role in the etching process, in terms of structural and optical properties of the GaN films. Cathodoluminescence depth-profiling indicates that the band-edge emission of etched GaN is significantly quenched.

The fourth part focuses on growth of Mg-doped GaN on trench patterns. Anisotropic growth and nonuniform acceptor incorporation in p-GaN films have been observed. The results indicate that growth along the sidewall has a faster growth rate and therefore a lower acceptor incorporation efficiency, compared to the region grown on the basal plane.

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  • 2020

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Polarization effects in group III-nitride materials and devices

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Group III-nitride semiconductors have wide application in optoelectronic devices. Spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization effects have been found to be critical for electric and optical properties of group III-nitrides. In this

Group III-nitride semiconductors have wide application in optoelectronic devices. Spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization effects have been found to be critical for electric and optical properties of group III-nitrides. In this dissertation, firstly, the crystal orientation dependence of the polarization is calculated and in-plane polarization is revealed. The in-plane polarization is sensitive to the lateral characteristic dimension determined by the microstructure. Specific semi-polar plane growth is suggested for reducing quantum-confined Stark effect. The macroscopic electrostatic field from the polarization discontinuity in the heterostructures is discussed, b ased on that, the band diagram of InGaN/GaN quantum well/barrier and AlGaN/GaN heterojunction is obtained from the self-consistent solution of Schrodinger and Poisson equations. New device design such as triangular quantum well with the quenched polarization field is proposed. Electron holography in the transmission electron microscopy is used to examine the electrostatic potential under polarization effects. The measured potential energy profiles of heterostructure are compared with the band simulation, and evidences of two-dimensional hole gas (2DHG) in a wurtzite AlGaN/ AlN/ GaN superlattice, as well as quasi two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in a zinc-blende AlGaN/GaN are found. The large polarization discontinuity of AlN/GaN is the main source of the 2DHG of wurtzite nitrides, while the impurity introduced during the growth of AlGaN layer provides the donor states that to a great extent balance the free electrons in zinc-blende nitrides. It is also found that the quasi-2DEG concentration in zinc-blende AlGaN/GaN is about one order of magnitude lower than the wurtzite AlGaN/GaN, due to the absence of polarization. Finally, the InAlN/GaN lattice-matched epitaxy, which ideally has a zero piezoelectric polarization and strong spontaneous polarization, is experimentally studied. The breakdown in compositional homogeneity is triggered by threading dislocations with a screw component propagating from the GaN underlayer, which tend to open up into V-grooves at a certain thickness of the InxAl1-xN layer. The V-grooves coalesce at 200 nm and are filled with material that exhibits a significant drop in indium content and a broad luminescence peak. The structural breakdown is due to heterogeneous nucleation and growth at the facets of the V-grooves.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Characterization of the structural and optical properties of III-V semiconductor materials for solar cell applications

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The work contained in this dissertation is focused on the structural and optical properties of III-V semiconductor structures for solar cell applications. By using transmission electron microscopy, many of their

The work contained in this dissertation is focused on the structural and optical properties of III-V semiconductor structures for solar cell applications. By using transmission electron microscopy, many of their structural properties have been investigated, including morphology, defects, and strain relaxation. The optical properties of the semiconductor structures have been studied by photoluminescence and cathodoluminescence.

Part of this work is focused on InAs quantum dots (QDs) embedded in AlGaAs matrices. This QD system is important for the realization of intermediate-band solar cells, which has three light absorption paths for high efficiency photovoltaics. The suppression of plastic strain relaxation in the QDs shows a significant improvement of the optoelectronic properties. A partial capping followed by a thermal annealing step is used to achieve spool-shaped QDs with a uniform height following the thickness of the capping layer. This step keeps the height of the QDs below a critical value that is required for plastic relaxation. The spool-shaped QDs exhibit two photoluminescence peaks that are attributed to ground and excited state transitions. The luminescence peak width is associated with the QD diameter distribution. An InAs cover layer formed during annealing is found responsible for the loss of the confinement of the excited states in smaller QDs.

The second part of this work is focused on the investigation of the InxGa1-xN thin films having different bandgaps for double-junction solar cells. InxGa1-xN films with x ≤ 0.15 were grown by metal organic chemical vapor deposition. The defects in films with different indium contents have been studied. Their effect on the optical properties of the film have been investigated by cathodoluminescence. InxGa1-xN films with indium contents higher than 20% were grown by molecular beam epitaxy. The strain relaxation in the films has been measured from electron diffraction patterns taken in cross-sectional TEM specimens. Moiré fringes in some of the films reveal interfacial strain relaxation that is explained by a critical thickness model.

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  • 2016

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Investigation of Gallium Nitride Heterostructures for Application to High Electron Mobility Transistors

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With the high demand for faster and smaller wireless communication devices, manufacturers have been pushed to explore new materials for smaller and faster transistors. One promising class of transistors is

With the high demand for faster and smaller wireless communication devices, manufacturers have been pushed to explore new materials for smaller and faster transistors. One promising class of transistors is high electron mobility transistors (HEMT). AlGaAs/GaAs HEMTs have been shown to perform well at high power and high frequencies. However, AlGaN/GaN HEMTs have been gaining more attention recently due to their comparatively higher power densities and better high frequency performance. Nevertheless, these devices have experienced truncated lifetimes. It is assumed that reducing defect densities in these materials will enable a more direct study of the failure mechanisms in these devices. In this work we present studies done to reduce interfacial oxygen at N-polar GaN/GaN interfaces, growth conditions for InAlN barrier layer, and microanalysis of a partial InAlN-based HEMT. Additionally, the depth of oxidation of an InAlN layer on a gate-less InAlN/GaN metal oxide semiconductor HEMT (MOSHEMT) was investigated. Measurements of electric fields in AlGaN/GaN HEMTs with and without field plates are also presented.

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Date Created
  • 2018