Surface studies on ?–sapphire for potential use in GaN epitaxial growth

by Agnarsson, Björn

Abstract (Summary)

This Licentiate thesis summarizes the work carried out by the author the years 2004 to 2008 at the University of Iceland and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden. The aim of the project was to investigate the structure of sapphire (alpha-Al2O3) surfaces, both for pure scienti?c reasons and also for potential use as substrate for GaN-growth by molecular beam epitaxy.

More generally the thesis describes some surface science methods used for investigating the substrates; the general physical back ground, the experi- mental implementation and what information they can give. The described techniques are used for surface analysis on sapphire substrates which have been treated variously in order to optimize them for use as templates for epi- taxial growth of GaN or related III-V compounds.

The thesis is based on three published papers.

The ?rst paper focuses on the formation a thin AlN layer on sapphire, which may act as a bu?er layer for potential epitaxial growth of GaN or any related III-V materials. Two types of sapphire substrates (reconstructed and non- reconstructed) were exposed to ammonia resulting in the formation of AlN on the surface. The e?ciency of the AlN formation (nitridation e?ciency) for the two surfaces was then compared as a function of substrate temperature through photoelectron spectroscopy and low electron energy di?raction. The reconstructed surface showed a much higher nitridation e?ciency than the non-reconstructed surface.

In the second paper, the a?ect of di?erent annealing processes on the sapphire morphology, and thus its capability to act as a template for GaN growth, was studied. Atomic force microscopy, X-ray di?raction analysis together with ellipsometry measurements showed that annealing in H2 ambient and subse- quent annealing at 1300 °C in O2 for 11 hours resulted in high quality and atomically ?at sapphire surface suitable for III-V epitaxial growth.

The third paper describes the e?ect of argon sputtering on cleaning GaN surfaces and the possibility of using indium as surfactant for establishing a clean and stoichiometric GaN surface, after such sputtering. Soft sputtering, followed by deposition of 2 ML of indium and subsequent annealing at around 500 °C resulted in a well ordered and clean GaN surface while hard sputtering introduced defects and incorporated both metallic gallium and indium in the surface.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Condensed matter physics; Surfaces and interfaces


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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