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Impact of Si doping on dislocation behavior in MOVPE-grown AlN on high-temperature annealed AlN buffer layers

A. Mogilatenko1,2, S. Walde1, S. Hagedorn1, C. Netzel1, C.-Y. Huang3,4, and M. Weyers1

Published in:

J. Appl. Phys., vol. 131, no. 4, pp. 045702, doi:10.1063/5.0073076 (2022).


In this work, we compare the defect structure in unintentionally doped and Si-doped AlN layers grown by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) on high-temperature annealed (HTA) sputtered AlN templates on sapphire substrates. Since the HTA process leads to a reduction of the in-plane lattice constant of the AlN layers, further homoepitaxial overgrowth results in compressively strained AlN layers. With increasing MOVPE-AlN layer thickness, strain relaxation takes place mostly by formation of dislocation half-loops of an irregular shape, which accumulate at the homoepitaxial MOVPE-AlN/HTA-AlN interface. We suggest that these dislocations nucleate at the layer surface and move down to the homoepitaxial interface at high temperatures. The formation of these irregular and hardly controllable defects can be avoided by introduction of Si-doping into the MOVPE-AlN layers. Si-doping enlarges the inclination of threading dislocation lines stemming from the HTA-AlN template, producing an alternative mechanism for strain relaxation.

1 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut gGmbH, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Str. 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Humboldt University of Berlin, Institute of Physics, Newtonstr. 15, 12489 Berlin, Germany
3 Department of Photonics, College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 30010, Taiwan
4 Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute, 195, Sec.4, Chung Hsing Rd., Hsinchu, Taiwan


Transmission electron microscopy, Mechanical stress, Semiconductor device fabrication, Light emitting diodes, Epitaxy, Doping, Crystallographic defects

Copyright © 2022 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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