Single crystal GaN substrates are a more reliable, efficient and low cost alternative to sapphire and SiC substrates that are currently being used for developing nitride based devices such as LEDs, high power FETs and laser diodes. GaN growth by two techniques are investigated here. In ammonothermal growth (analogous to hydrothermal growth which is commonly used for quartz), using potassium and lithium amide as mineralizers and GaN powders and vapor grown polycrystals as nutrients, thick GaN single crystal layers have been grown on both faces of (0001) HVPE GaN seeds in nickel based autoclaves. In GaN sublimation growth, Ga is transported under a temperature gradient in an ammonia atmosphere from a GaN powder source to the sapphire substrate which has a 3–6 micron GaN epilayer deposited on it. Synchrotron white beam x-ray topography (SWBXT) was initially used to image the defect structures in the layers. High resolution x-ray diffraction experiments were also carried out and reciprocal space maps were recorded from the grown GaN layers. Characterization results will be discussed with respect to the growth conditions.