Carbon doping of GaN: Proof of the formation of electrically active tri-carbon defects

I. Gamov1, E. Richter2, M. Weyers2, G. Gärtner3, and K. Irmscher1

Published in:

J. Appl. Phys., vol. 127, no. 20, pp. 205701, DOI: 10.1063/5.0010844 (2020).

Copyright © 2020 Author(s). Published under license by AIP Publishing.
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Carbon doping is used to obtain semi-insulating GaN crystals. If the carbon doping concentration exceeds 5 × 1017 cm-3, the carbon atoms increasingly form triatomic clusters. The tri-carbon defect structure is unambiguously proven by the isotope effect on the defects’ local vibrational modes (LVMs) originally found in samples containing carbon of natural isotopic composition (∼99% 12C, ∼1% 13C) at 1679 cm-1 and 1718 cm-1. Number, spectral positions, and intensities of the LVMs for samples enriched with the 13C isotope (∼99% and ∼50%) are consistently interpreted on the basis of the harmonic oscillator model taking into account the probability of possible isotope combinations. Including the polarization dependence of the LVM absorption, we show that the tri-carbon defects form a triatomic molecule-like structure in two crystallographically different configurations: a basal configuration with the carbon bonds near the basal plane and an axial configuration with one of the carbon bonds along the c axis. Finally, the disappearance of the LVMs under additional below-bandgap illumination is interpreted as defect recharging, i.e., the tri-carbon defects possess at least one charge state transition level within the bandgap and contribute to optical absorption as well as to the electrical charge balance.

1 Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung, Max-Born-Str. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Str. 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany
3 Institute of Experimental Physics, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, 09599 Freiberg, Germany


Fourier transform spectroscopy, Isotope effect, Doping, Optical absorption, Isotopomers, Harmonic oscillator, Vibrational spectroscopy, Optical properties, Infrared absorption spectroscopy, Absorption line