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The reliability of InAlGaN multiple quantum well LEDs emitting around 308 nm has been investigated. The UV-B LEDs were stressed at constant current and current density, while the heat sink temperature was varied between 15°C and 80°C. The results reveal two different modes of the decrease of the optical power during aging. First, a fast reduction of the optical power within the first 100 h (mode 1) can be observed, followed by a slower degradation for operation times >100 h (mode 2). Mode 1 can be described as an initial degradation activation process which saturates after a certain time, whereas the second degradation mode can be described by a square-root time dependence of the optical power, suggesting a diffusion process to be involved. Both degradation modes are accompanied by changes of the I-V characteristic, particularly the reverse-bias leakage current and the drive voltage. Furthermore, the degradation behavior is strongly influenced by the temperature. Both, the maximum reduction of the optical power and the increase of the leakage current become stronger at higher temperatures.
The thermal expansion of different GaN samples is studied by high-resolution X-ray diffraction within the temperature range of 10 to 600 K. GaN bulk crystals, a homoepitaxial layer and different heteroepitaxial layers grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) were investigated. Below 100 K the thermal expansion coefficients (TEC) were found to be nearly zero which has to be taken into account when estimating the thermal strain of GaN layers in optical experiments commonly performed at low temperatures. The homoepitaxial layer and the underlying GaN substrate with a lattice mismatch of −6·10−4 showed identical thermal expansion. The comparison between the temperature behavior of lattice parameters of heteroepitaxial layers and bulk GaN points to a superposition of thermally induced biaxial strain and compressive hydrostatic strain.
The thermal expansion of different GaN samples is studied by high-resolution Xray diffraction within the temperature range of 10 to 600 K. GaN bulk crystals, a homoepitaxial layer and different heteroepitaxial layers grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) were investigated. Below 100 K the thermal expansion coefficients (TEC) were found to be nearly zero which has to be taken into account when estimating the thermal strain of GaN layers in optical experiments commonly performed at low temperatures. The homoepitaxial layer and the underlying GaN substrate with a lattice mismatch of –6×10−4 showed identical thermal expansion. The comparison between the temperature behavior of lattice parameters of heteroepitaxial layers and bulk GaN points to a superposition of thermally induced biaxial strain and compressive hydrostatic strain.
Non-uniformity in GaN thin films deposited on 6H-SiC can make determining the effects of growth variables difficult. Results presented in this work show the effects of the SiC substrates on the GaN films, and how to correct for these effects to obtain meaningful data about the properties of the thin film rather than the substrate underneath. Rocking curve values of GaN thin films are found to track almost 1:1 with the values of the underlying SiC. Plotting rocking curves with respect to the substrate, as well as a variable of importance can therefore yield more meaningful and reliable comparisons instead of plotting the data for the variable alone. This procedure is used to demonstrate the effects of thickness and AlN and AlGaN buffer layers on GaN thin films.
The surface morphologies of GaN and InGaN films grown at 780°C by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy were determined using atomic force microscopy. A qualitative model is presented to explain observed instabilities in the step morphology of these films, namely, the formation of hillock islands and v-defects that give rise to surface roughening. The latter are a result of a boundary dragging effect, where interactions occur between the movement of homogeneous and heterogeneous steps and the tendency to form atom clusters in the terrace in the transition in kinetic growth regime. The tendency to form v-defects was associated with dislocation density. A delay in the formation of v-defects in InGaN was observed and associated with the ammonia partial pressure and the interactions between hillock islands and pure screw or mixed dislocations. Hillock island formation was attributed to a transition in thermodynamic mode to three-dimensional island growth. Explanations for the foregoing observations are based on growth model theory previously developed by Burton, Cabrera, and Frank (BCF) and on changes in the surface kinetics with temperature, In composition, and gas phase composition.
A growth process route that results in thin film GaN templates with a smooth surface morphology at the optimum temperature of 1020°C has been developed. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) reveals hillocks on films grown above 1020°C. Hillocks resulted from the rotation of heterogeneous steps formed at pure screw or mixed dislocations which terminated on the (0001) surface. Growth of the latter feature was controlled kinetically by temperature through adatom diffusion. The 106 cm-2 density of the hillocks was reduced through growth on thick GaN templates and regions of pendeo-epitaxy (PE) overgrowth with lower pure screw or mixed dislocations. Smooth PE surfaces were obtained at temperatures that reduced the lateral to vertical growth rate but also retarded hillock growth that originated in the stripe regions. The (1120 ) PE sidewall surface was atomically smooth, with a root mean square roughness value of 0.17 nm which was the noise limited resolution of the AFM measurements.
The growth of InGaN on GaN (0001) by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy was investigated with special focus on the dynamics of the formation of the dots. A metastable 2D growth regime, where the surface changes from smooth to rough by thermal treatment during growth interruption, existed previous to the 2D-3D transition. Both small regular-shaped dots and large irregular-shaped islands were observed. The large islands were suppressed by choosing correct growth conditions. The critical thickness for the transition from 2D to 3D growth also depended on the growth conditions. The growth of GaN capping layer to cover InGaN dot-structure was also attempted.
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