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We report a study of InGaN and InAlN epilayers grown on GaN/Sapphire substrates by microfocused three-dimensional X-ray Reciprocal Space Mapping (RSM). The analysis of the full volume of reciprocal space, while probing samples on the microscale with a focused X-ray beam, allows us to gain uniquely valuable information about the microstructure of III-N alloy epilayers. It is found that “seed” InGaN mosaic nanocrystallites are twisted with respect to the ensemble average and strain free. This indicates that the growth of InGaN epilayers follows the Volmer-Weber mechanism with nucleation of “seeds” on strain fields generated by the a-type dislocations which are responsible for the twist of underlying GaN mosaic blocks. In the case of InAlN epilayer formation of composition gradient was observed at the beginning of the epitaxial growth.
The Daresbury synchrotron radiation source (SRS) provides bright, tunable x-rays for scattering and absorption probes of local structure. Scanning confocal microscopy and luminescence decay measurements employ the SRS in alternative ways, as a tunable luminescence excitation engine and as a source of weak, 160 ps pulses with a large pulse-topulse separation, respectively. This report first describes local atomic structure studies of InGaN epilayers by extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). In addition, we report photoluminescence (PL) imaging, PL microspectroscopy and photoluminescence decay studies of various nitride samples, including tailored InGaN quantum wells and discs.
The behavior of the E2 and A1(LO) optical phonons in Inx Ga1-x N has been analyzed by Raman scattering over the whole composition range. The frequencies of the E2 and A1(LO) modes decrease with increasing InN fraction. These modes display a significant broadening for an InN fraction of ≈ 60% and their linewidth decreases towards both ends of the composition range as a consequence of reduced cation disorder. Our results show a one-mode behavior for both E2 and A1(LO) modes of InGaN.
We have studied the structural and optical properties of InAlN alloys with compositions nearly lattice-matched to GaN. Scanning electron microscopy measurements reveals a good overall surface quality, with some defect structures distributed across the surface whose density increases with the InN concentration. On the other hand, Raman scattering experiments show three peaks in the frequency range between 500 and 900 cm-1, which have been assigned to InN-like and AlN-like E2 modes and A1(LO) mode of the InAlN. These results agree with theoretical calculations previously reported where two-mode and one-mode behavior was predicted for the E and A(LO) modes, respectively. Photoluminescence and photoluminescence excitation allowed us to determine the emission and absorption energies of the InAlN epilayers. Both energies display a redshift as the InN fraction increases. We find a roughly linear increase of the Stokes shift with InN fraction, with Stokes shift values of ≈0.5 eV in the composition range close to the lattice-matched condition.
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