Spontane und stimulierte Emission von (Al, In, Ga)N-Halbleitern Untersuchungen von konventionellen Heterostrukturen und einer neuartigen "feldfreien" Struktur

by Rau, Björn

Abstract (Summary)
In this thesis, the optical properties of molecular beam epitaxy grown hexagonal group-III nitride heterostructures are studied. The photoluminescence (PL) characteristics of InGaN/GaN and GaN/AlGAN multiple quantum well structures are investigated by time-integrated and time-resolved measurements. The analyzed specimens differ in the width of the quantum wells and barriers (InGaN) and in the crystallographic orientation (AlGaN), respectively. As a result of the large characteristic electrostatic fields, conventional [0001]-oriented heterostructures show a reduced transistion energy and longer lifetimes with increasing well width and higher Indium content in the wells. The observed impact of the Quantum Confined Stark Effect (QCSE) on these quantities is quantitatively shown in model calculations. In this work, a first extensive optical characterization of a novel [1-100]-oriented GaN heterostructure grown on Gamma-LiAlO2 is presented. For comparison, an identically designed [0001]-oriented structure on SiC is discussed. The (1-100)-grown specimen is free of electrostatic fields along the growth direction and shows a significant different behavior than conventional [0001]-oriented nitrides with internal fields of several MV/cm. The existing flat band conditions are confirmed by the spectral position of the PL at low excitation densities. Due to the non-existing QCSE at this specimen an significantly reduced lifetime is observed. A strong polarization of the PL is observed for the [1-100]-oriented sample, following the selection rules for hexagonal GaN. The small deviation of the degree of polarization from unity, which is expected in bulk GaN, is attributed to the quantum confinement in the heterostructures. One main topic of this thesis is the analysis of the recombination mechanisms of the specimens depending on the induced carrier density. The carrier density is varied from very low upto densities above the mott density. A screening of the electrostatic fields is observed with increasing carrier density. It is shown, that an InGaN/GaN heterostructure with a well width of 3.1 nm not only is influenced by internal piezoelectric fields but also the localization of excitons at stoichiometric inhomogenities in the quantum well is playing an important role for the recombination dynamics of the structure. This can be seen in the dependence of the decay process on the starting conditions. No general correlation is existing between lifetime and carrier density. Time-resolved PL measurements on InGaN/GaN heterostructures show a reduced lifetime due to an increased overlap of the electron and hole wave functions as a result of the increased screening at increasing carrier densities. During the recombination process the screening decreases again and the lifetime is changed with time. Simultaneously the transistion energy of the PL maximum is reduced by the less screened QCSE. A distinct dependence of the time-integrated PL spectra on the excitation density was also found. While there are no compensation effects expected at the (1-100) structure, which is free of electrostatic fields, the results for the conventional specimens point to an effect which influences the carrier density essentially. The dependence of the PL intensity on the carrier density points to an additional process, which comes into play at a special excitation density. This process reduces the carrier density but is invisible in the PL spectra. As an explanation we assume, that light of stimulated emission is absorbed either in the substrate or in the buffer layer. The transistion energy of the InGaN structures increases with increasing excitation density and reaches a saturation energy at a density of 10e5 W/cm2. Although this density is larger than the mott density, the transistion energy is not equivalent with a transition energy at flat band conditions. The origin of the observed effect is assumed to be the rival process, mentioned above, which comes into play at high carrier densities. For the GaN/AlGaN heterostructures no spectral shift of the PL was observed within the variation of excitation density. For the very first time, the stimulated emission of an [1-100]-oriented GaN structure was analyzed. A maximum netto gain of 50 1/cm was observed. From calculations of the mode propagation, a material gain of 1.1x10e4 1/cm is derived for GaN(1-100). Additionally from the results follows that the recombination of an electron-hole-plasma is the mechanism of the stimulated emission. This is in accordance with most of the published observations for [0001]-oriented GaN heterostructures. A direct comparison of both, the [1-100]-oriented specimen and the GaN/AlGaN(0001) structure, which was investigated parallel, was not possible. The reason for that is the strong absorption of the SiC substrate of the latter mentioned structure. It is generally shown, that [1-100]-oriented GaN heterostructures offers good starting conditions to realize laser diodes. The wave guiding was simulated for all of the used specimens. At structures grown on SiC the propagating modes are mainly guided in the substrate due to the larger refractive index of SiC with respect to GaN. The overlap of the amplified mode and the active layer is very small. No optical gain is expected for these structures. The [1-100]-oriented GaN/AlGaN structure shows a significantly improved wave guiding, due to the small refractive index of LiAlO2 in comparison with GaN. A correlation between the experimentally observed optical gain and the material gain is formed and the results are compared with the literature. A suggestion for an optimized wave guiding in all investigated specimens is given.
This document abstract is also available in German.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

School Location:Germany

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Photolumineszenz Heterostrukturen Quantum-confined Stark Effect Wellenf├╝hrung heterostructures III-V semiconductors m-plane photoluminescence stimulated emission waveguiding


Date of Publication:02/19/2003

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