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Room-Temperature Time–Resolved Photoluminescence Studies of UV Emission from GaN/AlN Quantum Wells

  • Madalina Furis (a1), Fei Chen (a1), Alexander N. Cartwright (a1), Hong Wu (a2) and William J. Schaff (a2)...

Abstract

Room temperature time-resolved photoluminescence (TRPL) studies of multiple quantum well (MQW) structures of the binaries GaN and AlN grown by molecular beam epitaxy are reported. The eventual application of these structures is for GaN intersubband IR light emitters. However, as an initial study, the structures are evaluated at UV to investigate materials parameters relevant to IR light emission. The nominally 0.9, 1.3 and 1.5 nm GaN quantum wells are clad by 6nm of AlN on top of a thick AlN buffer grown on sapphire. All samples consisted of 20 quantum wells. The observed peak energy of the emission spectrum is in excellent agreement with a model that includes the strong confinement present in these structures and the existence of the large built-in piezoelectric field and spontaneous polarization present inside the wells. Furthermore, consistent with screening of the in-well field as carriers are injected in the well, a clear blue shift of the emission is observed at short times after carrier injection. Subsequently, as the carriers recombine, the peak emission red-shifts and the screening of the field is reduced. Moreover, the observed lifetimes were energy dependent as should be expected from field dependent elongation of lifetimes due to spatial separation of the injected carriers. Specifically, the decay time at high energies can be fitted by a stretched exponential with a beta value of 0.8 which is consistent with carrier spatial separation. The lifetimes obtained from the fitting are of the order of 1ns, longer than the reported recombination lifetimes in similar GaN/AlGaN MQW's. On the low energy side of the PL feature the intensity time decay becomes exponential with lifetimes ranging from 3 to 10ns. The strong UV emission at room temperature makes these structures promising for UV emitters.

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