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Quantitative analysis of the elemental distributions within AlGaN has been investigated using electron energy loss spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscopy. The nanowires were grown on c-sapphire by radio frequency plasma assisted molecular beam epitaxy. Crystallographic and compositional analyses of the nickel seeds used to promote the nanowire type growth yielded values of lattice spacings within the seeds remaining at the growth tip which were attributed to either (002) NiO, (111) Ni3Ga or (111) Ni-Ga solid solution. The seeds structures exhibited a metallic core encompassed by an oxide shell. The relative gallium and nickel concentrations were quantified by EELS analyses and were found to be consistent with the equilibrium phase α' of Ni3Ga or Ni-Ga solid solution. No nitrogen was observed within the seeds, which is predicted thermodynamically due to the instability of Ni-N compounds at the NW growth temperature used in this study. No aluminium was detected at the tip of nanowires. These measurements are compared with previous studies made concerning pure GaN nanowires. The Al distribution along the nanowire length was measured and is discussed in respect of a possible Al incorporation mechanism.
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