In situ measurements of the critical thickness for strain relaxation in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures

Lee, S. R.; Koleske, D. D.; Cross, K. C.; Floro, J. A.; Waldrip, K. E.; Wise, A. T.; Mahajan, S.
December 2004
Applied Physics Letters;12/20/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 25, p6164
Academic Journal
Using in situ wafer-curvature measurements of thin-film stress, we determine the critical thickness for strain relaxation in AlxGa1-xN/GaN heterostructures with 0.14≤x≤1. The surface morphology of selected films is examined by atomic force microscopy. Comparison of these measurements with critical-thickness models for brittle fracture and dislocation glide suggests that the onset of strain relaxation occurs by surface fracture for all compositions. Misfit-dislocations follow initial fracture, with slip-system selection occurring under the influence of composition-dependent changes in surface morphology.


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