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Investigations of the GaN, AlN, and InN Semiconductors: Structural, Optical, Electronic and Interfacial Properties

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Final rept.

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Described in this thesis is an investigation of some fundamental physical properties of both zincblende and wurtzite Group III - Nitride wide bandgap semiconductor materials. All of the thin films studied were grown by plasma-enhanced molecular beam epitaxy on either GaAs and SiC substrates. This growth method proved to be suitable for nitride expitaxial growth although compromises between the plasma power and the crystal growth rate had to be sought. The zincblende polytypes of GaN and InN were studied with the intent of evaluating their potential as a wide bandgap semiconductor system for short wavelength optical devices. The metastability of these crystals has led us to the conclusion that the zincblende nitrides are not a promising candidate for these applications due to their tendency to nucleate wurtzite domains. Bulk samples of zincblende GaN and InN and wurtzite GaN, AlN and InN were studied by x-ray photoemission spectroscopy XPS in an effort to determine their valence band structure. We report the various energies of the valence band density of states maxima as well as the ionicity gaps of each material. Wurtzite GaNAlN and InNAlN heterostructures were also investigated by XPS in order to estimate the valence band discontinuities of these heterojunctions. We measured valence band discontinuities of deltaEvGaNAlN 0.4 - 0.4 eV and deltaEvInNAlN 1.1 - 0.4 eV. Our results indicate that both systems have heterojunction band lineups fundamentally suitable for common optical device applications.

Subject Categories:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices
  • Optics

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