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The two deep traps responsible for current collapse in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors grown by metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxy have been studied by photoionization spectroscopy. Varying the growth pressure of the high resistivity GaN buffer layer results in a change in the deep trap incorporation that is reflected in the observed current collapse. Variations in the measured trap concentrations with growth pressure and carbon incorporation indicate that the deepest trap is a carbon-related defect, while the mid-gap trap may be associated with grain boundaries or dislocations. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.