Impact of nucleation conditions on the structural and optical properties of M-plane GaN(1100) grown on γ-LiAlO[sub 2]

Sun, Yue Jun; Brandt, Oliver; Jahn, Uwe; Liu, Tian Yu; Trampert, Achim; Cronenberg, Sven; Dhar, Subhabrata; Ploog, Klaus H.
November 2002
Journal of Applied Physics;11/15/2002, Vol. 92 Issue 10, p5714
Academic Journal
We investigate the structural and optical properties of M-plane GaN(1&1macr;00) films grown on LiA1O[SUB2](100) with nucleation layers grown at high and low temperatures. Samples with a high temperature nucleation layer are found to exhibit a highly anisotropic surface morphology with pronounced corrugation, which basically replicates the surface morphology of the substrate. Photoluminescence spectra of these layers are dominated by a transition at 3.356 eV, which is absent for samples with a low-temperature nucleation layer. In conjunction with scanning electron microscopy, cathodoluminescence maps reveal that this transition predominantly stems from regions below the trenches of the surface corrugation. Transmission electron microscopy shows an abundance of stacking faults within these regions. Excitation-dependent and time-resolved photoluminescence demonstrates the intrinsic character of the 3.356 eV emission, which is thus attributed to excitons bound to stacking faults acting as ultrathin vertical quantum wells in these samples. Low-temperature nucleation is imperative to avoid thermal roughening of the substrate and thus the formation of a high density of stacking faults.


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