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Influence of 4H-SiC substrate miscut on the epitaxy and microstructure of AlGaN/GaN heterostructures

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

AlGaN/GaN heterostructures were grown on on-axis and 2° off (0001) 4H-SiC substrates by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE). Structural characterization was performed by transmission electron microscopy. The dislocation density, being greater in the on-axis case, is gradually reduced in the GaN layer and is forming dislocation loops in the lower region. Steps aligned along ̅ in the off-axis case give rise to simultaneous defect formation. In the on-axis case, an almost zero density of steps is observed, with the main origin of defects probably being the orientation mismatch at the grain boundaries between the small not fully coalesced AlN grains. V-shaped formations are observed in the AlN nucleation layer, but are more frequent in the off-axis case, probably enhanced by the presence of steps. These V-shaped formations are completely overgrown by the GaN layer, during the subsequent deposition, presenting AlGaN areas in the walls of the defect, indicating an inter-diffusion between the layers. Finally, at the AlGaN/GaN heterostructure surface in the on-axis case, V-shapes are observed, with the AlN spacer and AlGaN (21% Al) thickness on relaxed GaN exceeding the critical thickness for relaxation. On the other hand, no relaxation in the form of V-shape creation is observed in the off-axis case, probably due to the smaller AlGaN thickness (less than 21% Al). The AlN spacer layer, grown in between the heterostructure, presents a uniform thickness and clear interfaces.
Journal: Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing
ISSN: 1369-8001
Volume: 91
Pages: 159 - 166
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Materials science, Electrical & electronic engineering, Applied physics, Physics of solids, fluids and plasmas