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We report the surface, structural, and optical properties of typical Ga- and N-polar GaN films grown on sapphire substrates by molecular beam epitaxy. The Ga-polar films were grown on AlN buffer while the N-polar films were grown on GaN buffer layers. Atomic force microscopy imaging shows that the as-grown and chemically etched Ga-polar films have a flat and pitted surface while the N-polar surface is rougher with isolated columns or islands. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrates a low density of inversion domains in the Ga-polar films, while a much higher density of inversion domains was observed in the N-polar films. X-ray diffraction curves show a narrower (002) peak for Ga-polar films than that for N-polar films. On the other hand, both Ga- and N-polar films show a similar width of (104) peak. Despite their rough surfaces, high density of inversion domains, and broader (002) x-ray diffraction peaks, N-polar films with low dislocation density were demonstrated. In addition, higher PL efficiency for the N-polar films than that for the Ga-polar films was observed. © 2002 American Vacuum Society.
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures (Volume:20 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Nov 2002