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Evaluation of the structural properties of 200-nm-thick Si-doped Al0.49Ga0.51N films, grown on nominally relaxed 1-μm-thick Al0.62Ga0.38N buffer layers on sapphire, revealed that increased Si doping promoted the relaxation of the compressively strained layers. The degree of strain relaxation R of the Al0.49Ga0.51N films, as determined by x-ray diffraction (XRD), increased from R=0.55 to R=0.94 with an increase in disilane injection from 1.25 nmol/min to 8.57 nmol/min. Transmission electron microscopy analysis showed that the edge threading dislocations (TDs) in the Al0.49Ga0.51N layers were inclined, such that the redirected TD lines had a misfit dislocation component. The calculated strain relaxation due to the inclined TDs was in close agreement with the values determined from XRD. We propose that the TD line redirection was promoted by the Si-induced surface roughness. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.
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