Correlating X-ray microanalysis and cathodoluminescence data from III-nitride semiconductors

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2021
Thesis identifier
  • T16157
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201651158
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Research in group III- nitride semiconductors has seen major developments during the last couple of decades. One of the materials that satisfy requirements for optoelectronic devices in the ultra-violet (UV) spectral range and high power, high frequency electronic devices is the AlGaN. Performance and reliability of these devices will strongly depend on the electronic properties of epitaxial layers which are critically affected by structural defects and unintentional and intentional doped impurities. This thesis presents research on III- nitride semiconductors, in particular AlGaN and GaN materials. It is focused on characterization of AlGaN materials and the effects of n- and p-type doping, AlN content, occurrence of defects and crystal orientation on its quality. Different electron microscopy techniques are used to investigate luminescence, composition and doping properties of semiconductor structures and their correlation with surface features. The main techniques used for the characterization consisted of cathodoluminescence spectroscopy (CL) for the probing of luminescence properties, secondary electron (SE) and backscattered electron (BSE) imaging for investigation of the sample morphology and wavelength dispersive X-ray (WDX) spectroscopy for compositional analysis. The type of growth method and choice of substrate have a great influence on the surface morphology and luminescence homogeneity of the AlGaN layer, with compositional inhomogeneity of the MBE samples confirmed only on sub μm level but having lower emission intensity compared to MOCVD samples. The thesis presents detailed steps of a procedure to quantify trace elements and investigates the associated challenges. The whole process of measurement optimization for Mg and Si dopants is described and final recipe on how to measure the concentration of major (alloy) and minor Si/Mg (dopant) elements is presented. A systematic study of polar and semipolar n-type doped AlGaN/AlN layers grown on sapphire by (MOCVD) with varied Si/group-III ratios in the gas phase was accomplished. The AlN incorporation was higher in the polar samples and the highest values of Si incorporations were observed for the polar samples with the highest Si/III ratios, while saturation of Si incorporation was seen for the semipolar samples at higher Si/III ratios. CL point spectra showed how changes in the relative intensity of the NBE peaks and impurity transitions depend strongly on the growth conditions and surface orientations. The semipolar samples showed better compositional homogeneity. A study was also performed on AlGaN:Mg samples to study the impurity transitions and luminescence properties of non LED epilayer samples grown on MOCVD AlN/sapphire templates and more complicated LED structures with different numbers of MBE-grown layers. MBE samples showed superior quality to other combinations of MBE and MOCVD structures, mainly due to problems associated with the transfer of sample between different reactors and the introduction of impurities that will form different defects within the material. Finally, some proposals for future work are presented.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Martin, Rob
Resource Type