Structure and composition of GaN(0001) A and B surfaces

R. Held, G. Nowak, B. E. Ishaug, S. M. Seutter, A. Parkhomovsky, A. M. Dabiran, Philip I Cohen, I. Grzegory, S. Porowski

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Homoepitaxial, GaN films on both c-plane surfaces of bulk GaN crystals were examined using reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED). Differences in the RHEED pattern, time development of the RHEED intensity, and surface reconstructions were observed. The substrate surfaces were prepared either by mechanical polishing [GaN(0004)A] or by chemo-mechanically polishing [GaN(0001)B]. Then films were grown by molecular beam epitaxy; Ga was provide by a Knudsen cell and nitrogen from NH3. On the B surface, the Ga rich reconstructions reported by Smith and co-workers [Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 3934 (1997)] were observed. On the A surface, a (2 × 2) reconstruction was observed. Both reconstructions were much sharper than those seen on GaN films grown on sapphire. RHEED measurements of the specular intensity vs time showed that two different surface terminations could be maintained on the B surface, one of which is a stable, gallided surface, while the other is a nitrided surface, which is unstable in vacuum. If the nitrided surface is heated in vacuum it changes to the gallided surface in several minutes at 800°C. Only one termination was detected on the A surface. The results are complemented by desorption mass spectroscopy measurements, and the resulting surfaces were then investigated using atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. We were able to distinguish the two surface terminations on the B surface, and a unique annealing process under NH3 will be documented. Preliminary investigation of the A surface revealed decorated step edges. The results were compared to films grown on sapphire with different nucleation layers, which can be grown to yield either polarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7697-7704
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1999


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