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Growth of GaN on on-axis 6H-SiC (0001)Si substrates with an AlN buffer layer was performed by molecular-beam epitaxy. The effects of SiC surface reconstruction on the lattice relaxation of AlN buffer layers and the crystalline quality of GaN layers were studied. High-temperature HCl-gas etching followed by HF chemical treatment resulted in an atomically flat SiC surface with a 1×1 structure. The AlN layer grown on the surface showed slow lattice relaxation. GaN grown on the AlN buffer layer exhibited the narrowest (0002) x-ray rocking curve of 70 arcsec and 107 cm-2 screw-type dislocation density, which was two orders of magnitude smaller than that of GaN grown on as-received substrates. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.
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