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Polarity determination of a-plane GaN on r-plane sapphire and its effects on lateral overgrowth and heteroepitaxy


Achieving nitride-based device structures unaffected by polarization-induced electric fields can be realized with nonpolar GaN, although polarity plays a key role in the growth. (11 (2) over bar0) a-plane GaN films were grown on (1 (1) over bar 02) r-plane sapphire substrates and subsequently laterally overgrown using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition. Convergent beam electron diffraction analysis was used to determine the a-GaN polarity to explicitly define the film/substrate relationship, and subsequently to identify various growth features and surfaces observed throughout our studies of a-plane GaN. In particular, the effects of polarity on (1) lateral overgrowth from mask stripe openings aligned along [(1) over bar 100](GaN) and (2) pit formation in heteroepitaxial films grown under nonoptimized conditions were investigated. The fundamental differences between the polar surfaces are clearly observed; analysis of the lateral epitaxial overgrowth stripes revealed that (0001) surfaces grew faster than (000 (1) over bar) surfaces by approximately an order of magnitude, and these stable, slow-growing (000 (1) over bar) surfaces are a likely cause of pitting in a-GaN films. The growth features under investigation were imaged using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.

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