(Invited) Developing Periodically Oriented Gallium Nitride for Frequency Conversion

Monday, 25 May 2015: 14:50
Conference Room 4C (Hilton Chicago)
J. K. Hite, J. A. Freitas, M. A. Mastro, I. Vurgaftman, J. R. Meyer (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), C. G. Brown (University Research Foundation), F. J. Kub, S. R. Bowman, and C. R. Eddy Jr. (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
Gallium nitride is a semiconductor widely used in both optical and electronic devices. The polarity of GaN (+/- c-direction) influences many properties of the resultant material, including chemical reactivity and electric field in these ‘spontaneously polarized’ materials. By engineering inversion layers, we have demonstrated control of GaN polarity on both polar faces of GaN. By employing a selective growth method to deposit the IL, the lateral polarity of the GaN can be alternated, thus enabling structures referred to as periodically oriented (PO) GaN.

On N-polar substrates, we demonstrated that optimization of the MOCVD growth rates resulted in sharp, vertical interfaces and smooth surfaces. This work has moved the technology substantially closer to practical non-linear optic emitters by using HVPE to extend the PO GaN templates on N-polar substrates to total thicknesses of up to 500 mm, while faithfully maintaining the pattern of alternating polarity. Additionally, cross-sectional cathode-luminescence (CL) imaging of such an extension shows that the large initial dislocation densities occurring in the original inversion layers greatly decreased after about 25 mm of regrowth.

For growth on Ga-polar substrates, we have demonstrated that inversion layers can be created using atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3. This new capability is especially relevant because Ga-polar films are more prominent in devices, as they result in lower impurities, higher quality and smoother films. In this case, GaN grown over the inversion layer is N-polar. This inversion layer was used to form laterally-patterned stripes of alternating Ga- and N-polar films. We find that annealing the ALD films crystallizes the Al2O3, thereby allowing N-polar GaN to be grown over the new sapphire-like surface. Transmission electron microscopy shows that the inversion layer in a PO GaN structure is crystalline, a-plane oriented, and a-phase. TEM characterization further indicates that the GaN layers, both above and below the Al2O3 inversion layer, are c-oriented without any rotation between them. The optimization of this process has enhanced the surface smoothness.

These methods of GaN polarity inversion offer the promise of engineered materials with custom lateral and vertical polarity variations for applications in novel electronic and optoelectronic devices, a subset of which are expected to be suitable for non-linear optics.