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Reduction of the threading dislocation density in GaN films grown on vicinal sapphire (0001) substrates

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3 Author(s)
Shen, X.Q. ; Power Electronics Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Umezono 1-1-1, Central 2, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan ; Matsuhata, H. ; Okumura, H.

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Structural properties of GaN films grown on vicinal sapphire (0001) substrates with various vicinal angles by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy are investigated. High-resolution x-ray diffraction (HRXRD) results reveal the dramatic improvement of both tilting and twisting grain features of the GaN films when the vicinal angle is larger than 0.5° with the formation of multilayer macro-steps on the surface. The threading dislocation density reduces by over an order of magnitude estimated from the HRXRD results. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy observations clearly show that the formation and lateral propagation of macro-steps on the GaN surface play an important role in this dislocation reduction. A method for the reduction of threading dislocation density in GaN epilayers is proposed.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:86 ,  Issue: 2 )