MOVPE growth and characterization of Al(Ga)N and InAlN/AlGaN quantum wells for UV LED applications

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Li, Haoning
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University College Cork
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The study of III-nitride materials (InN, GaN and AlN) gained huge research momentum after breakthroughs in the production light emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes (LDs) over the past two decades. Last year, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for inventing a new energy efficient and environmental friendly light source: blue light-emitting diode (LED) from III-nitride semiconductors in the early 1990s. Nowadays, III-nitride materials not only play an increasingly important role in the lighting technology, but also become prospective candidates in other areas, for example, the high frequency (RF) high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) and photovoltaics. These devices require the growth of high quality III-nitride films, which can be prepared using metal organic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE). The main aim of my thesis is to study and develop the growth of III-nitride films, including AlN, u-AlGaN, Si-doped AlGaN, and InAlN, serving as sample wafers for fabrication of ultraviolet (UV) LEDs, in order to replace the conventional bulky, expensive and environmentally harmful mercury lamp as new UV light sources. For application to UV LEDs, reducing the threading dislocation density (TDD) in AlN epilayers on sapphire substrates is a key parameter for achieving high-efficiency AlGaNbased UV emitters. In Chapter 4, after careful and systematic optimisation, a working set of conditions, the screw and edge type dislocation density in the AlN were reduced to around 2.2×108 cm-2 and 1.3×109 cm-2 , respectively, using an optimized three-step process, as estimated by TEM. An atomically smooth surface with an RMS roughness of around 0.3 nm achieved over 5×5 µm 2 AFM scale. Furthermore, the motion of the steps in a one dimension model has been proposed to describe surface morphology evolution, especially the step bunching feature found under non-optimal conditions. In Chapter 5, control of alloy composition and the maintenance of compositional uniformity across a growing epilayer surface were demonstrated for the development of u-AlGaN epilayers. Optimized conditions (i.e. a high growth temperature of 1245 °C) produced uniform and smooth film with a low RMS roughness of around 2 nm achieved in 20×20 µm 2 AFM scan. The dopant that is most commonly used to obtain n-type conductivity in AlxGa1-xN is Si. However, the incorporation of Si has been found to increase the strain relaxation and promote unintentional incorporation of other impurities (O and C) during Si-doped AlGaN growth. In Chapter 6, reducing edge-type TDs is observed to be an effective appoach to improve the electric and optical properties of Si-doped AlGaN epilayers. In addition, the maximum electron concentration of 1.3×1019 cm-3 and 6.4×1018 cm-3 were achieved in Si-doped Al0.48Ga0.52N and Al0.6Ga0.4N epilayers as measured using Hall effect. Finally, in Chapter 7, studies on the growth of InAlN/AlGaN multiple quantum well (MQW) structures were performed, and exposing InAlN QW to a higher temperature during the ramp to the growth temperature of AlGaN barrier (around 1100 °C) will suffer a significant indium (In) desorption. To overcome this issue, quasi-two-tempeature (Q2T) technique was applied to protect InAlN QW. After optimization, an intense UV emission from MQWs has been observed in the UV spectral range from 320 to 350 nm measured by room temperature photoluminescence.
UV LEDs , MOVPE growth , Group III-Nitride Materials
Li, H. 2015. MOVPE growth and characterization of Al(Ga)N and InAlN/AlGaN quantum wells for UV LED applications. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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