Development of InGaN quantum dots by the Stranski-Krastanov method and droplet heteroepitaxy
MetadataShow full item record
The development of InGaN quantum dots (QDs) is both scientiﬁcally challenging and promising for applications in visible spectrum LEDs, lasers, detectors, electroabsorption modulators and photovoltaics. Such QDs are typically grown using the Stranski-Krastanov (SK) growth mode, in which accumulated in-plane compressive strain induces a transition from 2D to 3D growth. This method has a number of inherent limitations, including the unavoidable formation of a 2D wetting layer and the diﬃculty of controlling the composition, areal density, and size of the dots. In this research, I have developed InGaN QDs by two methods using a plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy reactor. In the ﬁrst method, InGaN QDs were formed by SK growth mode on (0001) GaN/sapphire. In the second, I have addressed the limitations of the SK growth of InGaN QDs by developing a novel alternative method, which was utilized to grow on both (0001) GaN/sapphire and AlN/sapphire. This method relies upon the ability to form thermodynamically stable In-Ga liquid solutions throughout the entire compositional range at relatively low temperatures. Upon simultaneous or sequential deposition of In and Ga on a substrate, the adatoms form a liquid solution, whose composition is controlled by the ratio of the ﬂuxes of the two constituents FIn/(FIn+FGa). Depending on the interfacial free energy between the liquid deposit and substrate, the liquid deposit and vapor, and the vapor and substrate, the liquid deposit forms Inx-Ga1−x nano-droplets on the substrate. These nano-droplets convert into InxGa1−xN QDs upon exposure to nitrogen RF plasma. InGaN QDs produced by both methods were investigated in-situ by reﬂection high-energy electron diﬀraction and ex-situ by atomic force microscopy, ﬁeld emission scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, high resolution x-ray diﬀraction, and grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering. The optical activity and device potential of the QDs were investigated by photoluminescence measurements and the formation and evaluation of PIN devices (in which the intrinsic region contains QDs embedded within a higher bandgap matrix). InGaN QDs with areal densities ranging from 109 to 1011 cm−2 and diameters ranging from 11 to 39 nm were achieved.