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Karine Hestroffer

Growth and characterization of GaN nanowires and GaN/AlN heterostructure nanowires

Published on 25 October 2012
Thesis presented October 25, 2012

This work focuses on the growth by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy and on the characterization of GaN nanowires (NWs) and of GaN/AlN NW heterostructures. We first investigate GaN NW morphology (density, mean length, mean diameter, length dispersion) dependence on the growth parameters. Using reflection high energy electron diffraction, GaN NW morphology is correlated to their nucleation dynamics. In situ grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction experiments performed at the ESRF allow clarifying GaN NW nucleation processes on bare Si(111) and when using a thin AlN buffer deposited on Si(111). The use of resonant X-ray diffraction for the determination of GaN NW polarity is then successfully demonstrated. GaN NWs grown on bare Si(111) are shown to be N-polar. Additional KOH selective etching tests reveal that both GaN NWs grown using a thin AlN buffer on Si(111) and when pre-depositing Ga on the Si(111) surface are N-polar, too. Regarding GaN-AlN NW heterostructures, the growth of an AlN shell around GaN NWs is studied as a function of various growth parameters. The AlN shell aspect ratio is described by a geometrical model. Using a combination of multiwave length anomalous diffraction, high resolution transmission microscopy and theoretical calculations, GaN core strain state is investigated as a function of the AlN shell thickness. This strain is shown to increase with the shell thickness as long as AlN grows homogeneously around GaN NWs. When the shell is asymmetric, the system relaxes plastically. Eventually, we study the possibility to fabricate island-like GaN insertions in AlN NWs. We determine the critical AlN NW radius above which GaN undergoes a 2D to 3D shape-transition. Regarding optical properties of these novel structures, the presence of multiple localized states is identified.

Nanowires, Nitride semiconductors, Molecular beam epitaxy, X-ray diffraction

On-line thesis.