Yellow luminescence (YL) has been studied in GaN:Mg doped with Mg concentrations ranging from 1019 to 1021 cm-3 by spectral CL (T=K) and TEM and explained by suggesting that a different mechanism could be responsible for the YL in p-type GaN with respect to that acting in n-type GaN.
Transitions at 2.2, 2.8, 3.27, 3.21, and 3.44 eV were found. In addition to the wurtzite phase, TEM showed a different amount of the cubic phase in the samples. Nano tubes with a density of 3×109 cm−2 were also observed by approaching the layer/substrate interface. Besides this, coherent inclusions were found with a diameter in the nm range and a volume fraction of about 1%.
The 2.8 eV transition was correlated to a deep level at 600 meV below the conduction band (CB) due to MgGa-VN complexes. The 3.27 eV emission was ascribed to a shallow acceptor at about 170-190 meV above the valence band (VB) due to MgGa.
The 2.2 eV yellow band, not present in low doped samples, increased by increasing the Mg concentration. It was ascribed to a transition between a deep donor level at 0.8-1.1 eV below the CB edge due to NGa and the shallow acceptor due to MgGa. This assumption was checked by studying the role of C in Mg compensation. CL spectra from a sample with high C content showed transitions between a C-related 200 meV shallow donor and a deep donor level at about 0.9-1.1 eV below the CB due to a NGa-VN complex. In our hypothesis this should induce a decrease of the integrated intensity in both the 2.2 and 2.8 eV bands, as actually shown by CL investigations.