Adam Moldawer

September 2013
Growth Of Polar And Non-Polar Nitride Semiconductor Quasi-Substrates By Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy For The Development Of Optoelectronic Devices By Molecular Beam Epitaxy
Committee Members: Advisor: Theodore Moustakas, MSE/ECE; Roberto Paiella, MSE/ECE; Karl Ludwig, MSE/Physics; Enrico Bellotti, MSE/ECE; Appointed Chair: Jonathan Klamkin, ECE

Abstract: The family of nitride semiconductors has had a profound influence on the development of optoelectronics for a large variety of applications. However, as of yet there are no native substrates commercially available that are grown by liquid phase methods as with Si and GaAs. As a result, the majority of electronic and optoelectronic devices are grown heteroepitaxially on sapphire and SiC.

This PhD research addresses both the development of polar and non-polar GaN and AlN templates by Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy (HVPE) on sapphire and SiC substrates, as well as the growth and characterization of optoelectronic devices on these templates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Polar and non-polar GaN templates have been grown in a vertical HVPE reactor on the C- and R-planes of sapphire respectively. The growth conditions have been optimized to allow the formation for thick (50μm) GaN templates without cracks. These templates were characterized structurally by studying their surface morphologies by SEM and AFM, and their structure through XRD and TEM. The polar C-plane GaN templates were found to be atomically smooth. However, the surface morphology of the non-polar GaN films grown on the R-plane of sapphire were found to have a facetted surface morphology, with the facets intersecting at 120° angles. This surface morphology reflects an equilibrium growth, since the A-plane of GaN grows faster than the M-planes of GaN due to the lower atomic density of the plane.

For the development of deep-UV optoelectronics, it is required to grow AlGaN quantum wells on AlN templates. However, since AlN is a high melting point material, such templates have to be grown at higher temperatures, close to half the melting point of the material (1500 °C). As these temperatures cannot be easily obtained by traditional furnace heating, an HVPE reactor has been designed to heat the substrate inductively to these temperatures. This apparatus has been used to grow high-quality, transparent AlN films with a screw dislocation density of 10^6 cm-2 on sapphire repeatedly.

On such templates, both InGaN- and AlGaN-based quantum wells (QWs) and quantum dots (QDs) were formed by MBE and were characterized. InGaN /GaN and AlGaN /AlN QWs were grown on the non-polar GaN templates and found to emit at near green and deep UV respectively with internal quantum efficiency (IQE) close to 90%. The InGaN GaN QWs and QDs have been investigated to understand the influence of plasmonic nanoparticles on the efficiency of corresponding green LEDS.