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Photoluminescence-excitation spectroscopy as a highly sensitive probe for carrier transport processes affected by surface damages in AlxGa1-xN/GaN heterostructures

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8 Author(s)
Takeuchi, Hideo ; R & D Department, High Frequency and Optical Device Works, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, 4-1 Mizuhara, Itami, Hyogo 664-8641, Japan ; Yamamoto, Yoshitsugu ; Kamo, Y. ; Kunii, Tetsuo
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We demonstrate that photoluminescence-excitation (PLE) spectroscopy can probe with high sensitivity the effects of plasma-induced surface damages on photogenerated-carrier-transport processes in AlxGa1-xN/GaN heterostructures, on the basis of systematic optical and structural characterization results for the as-grown reference sample and the plasma-exposed sample. It is found from the structural characterizations with atomic force microscopy that the plasma exposure remarkably modifies the atomic step boundaries and the pits on the AlxGa1-xN surface, which leads to a remarkable difference between the PLE spectra of the bound exciton photoluminescence from the underlying GaN layer in the two samples. The PLE spectrum of the reference sample shows a step rising from the AlxGa1-xN fundamental transition energy toward the high energy side, whereas the rising step disappears in the PLE spectrum of the plasma-exposed sample. In contrast, the reflectance characteristics are the same in the two samples; i.e., the excitonic transition itself is not influenced by the plasma exposure. The present findings indicate that the PLE spectral profile is sensitive to the change in efficiency of the photogenerated carrier injection from the AlxGa1-xN layer to the GaN layer. Thus, it is concluded that the PLE characterization is effective to probe the photogenerated-carrier transport in heterostructures.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:102 ,  Issue: 4 )