Effect of nitridation on polarity, microstructure, and morphology of AlN films

Wu, Y.; Hanlon, A.; Kaeding, J.F.; Sharma, R.; Fini, P.T.; Nakamura, S.; Speck, J.S.
February 2004
Applied Physics Letters;2/9/2004, Vol. 84 Issue 6, p912
Academic Journal
The polarity of AlN epitaxial layers grown on (0001) sapphire, SiC, and nitrided sapphire substrates was examined by convergent beam electron diffraction, and the morphology and microstructure were characterized by atomic force microscopy and scattering contrast transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The AlN films grown on sapphire and SiC without a buffer layer or nitridation of the substrate were flat and had Al polarity. From TEM studies in both cross section and plan view, it was found that the threading dislocation (TD) density was ∼1×10[sup 8] and 2×10[sup 10] cm[sup -2] for screw-component and pure edge component dislocations, respectively. N-face AlN was realized by pregrowth nitridation of sapphire substrates, but these films contained a small volume fraction of Al-face inversion domains which were related to hexagonal pyramids defined by {1102} facets. The density of screw-component TDs was significantly reduced due to nitridation. Cross-sectional TEM showed that the film grown on nitrided sapphire was almost free of screw-component TDs and that the density of pure edge TDs was ∼4×10[sup 9] cm[sup -2]. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.


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