Surface control of n-GaN was performed by applying a photoelectrochemical oxidation method in a glycol solution to improve the optical and electronic characteristics. The fundamental properties of the oxidation were investigated. The oxidation, chemical composition, and bonding states were analyzed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and micro-Auger electron spectroscopy, in which confirmed the formation of gallium oxide on the surface. The oxide formation rate was about 8 nm/min under UV illumination of 4 mW/cm2. After establishing the basic properties for control of n-GaN oxidation, the surface control technique was applied to achieve low-damage etching, enhancement of the photoluminescence intensity, and selective passivation of the air-exposed sidewalls in an AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistor wire structure. The capacitance-voltage measurement revealed the minimum interface-state density between GaN and anodic oxide to be about 5×1011 cm-2 eV-1, which is rather low value for compound semiconductors.