The impact of threading dislocation density on Ni/n-GaN Schottky barrier diode characteristics is investigated using forward biased current-voltage-temperature (I-V-T) and internal photoemission (IPE) measurements. Nominally, identical metal-organic chemical vapor deposition grown GaN layers were grown on two types of GaN templates on sapphire substrates to controllably vary threading dislocation density (TDD) from 3x10(7) to 7x10(8) cm(-2). I-V-T measurements revealed thermionic emission to be the dominant transport mechanism with ideality factors near 1.01 at room temperature for both sample types. The Schottky barrier heights showed a similar invariance with TDD, with measured values of 1.12-1.13 eV obtained from fitting the I-V-T results to a thermionic emission-diffusion model. The I-V-T results were verified by IPE measurements made on the same diodes, confirming that the Ni/n-GaN barrier heights do not show a measurable TDD dependence for the TDD range measured here. In apparent contrast to this result is that the measured forward bias I-V characteristics indicate a shift in the observed forward bias turn-on voltage such that at the higher TDD value investigated here, a larger turn-on voltage (lower current) is observed. This difference is attributed to localized current blocking by high potential barrier regions surrounding threading dislocations that intersect the Ni/GaN interface. A simple model is presented that reconciles both the observed voltage shift and variations in the extracted Richardson constant as a function of threading dislocation density. With this model, an average local barrier surrounding dislocation of similar to 0.2 V is obtained, which diverts current flow across the forward biased Schottky interface to nondislocated regions. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.