We have used the Shubnikov–de Haas and the Hall effects to investigate the effect of subband gap illumination on the transport properties of a very high mobility, μ=54 000 cm2/V s at T=1.2 K, Al0.09GaN0.91/GaN heterostructure. We have found that this illumination resulted in a photocurrent that was persistent at low temperatures. This photocurrent, which led to an increase in the carrier density, was used to study the dependence of the mobility and the quantum scattering time on the carrier density. Unlike in previous studies of persistent photoconductivity in GaN and AlGaN/GaN by other researchers, we have found that the mobility did not always increase with the carrier density as a result of illumination. For small duration of illumination, the mobility increased with the carrier density. However additional illumination resulted in a decrease of the mobility despite the increase in the carrier density. We believe that screening is responsible for the initial increase in the mobility, while ionization of defects in GaN, interface charges, and alloy disorder may be responsible for the eventual decrease in the mobility. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.