N-limited versus Ga-limited growth on GaN(0001̄) by MBE using NH3

R. Held, D. E. Crawford, A. M. Johnston, A. M. Dabiran, P. I. Cohen

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GaN was grown on GaN(0001̄;) by MBE using NH3 and a Ga Knudsen cell. The growth kinetics on samples of this polarity were investigated with desorption mass spectroscopy (DMS) and reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED). Both techniques were used to observe and control surface termination, Ga condensation and surface temperature. GaN growth and decomposition rates were measured by DMS. Two stable surface terminations were found to exist - N-terminated and Ga-terminated GaN(0001̄). The N-terminated surface also contained hydrogen which desorbed during growth at a rate proportional to the growth rate. Low temperature reconstructions were only observed by adding weakly adsorbed Ga on top of the Ga-terminated surface. During growth two distinct growth regimes were identified: growth under excess NH3 and growth under excess Ga. Growth is limited in both regimes by GaN decomposition at high temperatures with an activation energy of 3.4 eV. Growth in the excess Ga regime ceased below the Ga condensation temperature. Under conditions of excess NH3, strong but damped oscillations in the specular RHEED intensity were observed on smooth surfaces. Contrary to previous suggestions, the period of these oscillations did not correspond exactly to integral layer deposition and was not characteristic of a narrow growth front. Further, the growth mode changed from island nucleation to step flow with an activation energy of 1.2 eV. Under conditions of excess Ga, the diffraction was 2-D but RHEED intensity oscillations were not observed, indicating a step flow growth mode. In this latter regime RHEED measurements were very sensitive to termination changes on the GaN(0001̄) surface, and the growth rate was found to decrease linearly with increasing Ga flux. This reduction is explained by a model in which weakly adsorbed Ga blocks reaction at strongly bound Ga. A map is presented to provide a framework for categorizing the overall growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-934
Number of pages22
JournalSurface Review and Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1998


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