The Solid-State Lighting Science (SSLS) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) Director, Dr. Michael E. Coltrin, recently collaborated with colleagues from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Yale University on a publicationin Semiconductor Science and Technology titled “Using the kinetic Wulff plot to design and control nonpolar and semipolar GaN heteroepitaxy”. The article investigates GaN faceted growth as a function of crystallographic orientation to understand and control growth for both nonpolar and semipolar GaN. 

Abstract: For nonpolar and semipolar orientations of GaN heteroepitaxially grown on sapphire substrates, the development of growth procedures to improve surface morphology and microstructure has been driven in a largely empirical way. This work attempts to comprehensively link the intrinsic properties of GaN faceted growth, across orientations, in order to understand, design and control growth methods for nonpolar (1 1 2 0) GaN and semipolar (1 1 2 2) GaN on foreign substrates. This is done by constructing a comprehensive series of kinetic Wulff plots (or v-plots) by monitoring the advances of convex and concave facets in selective area growth. A methodology is developed to apply the experimentally determined v-plots to the interpretation and design of evolution dynamics in nucleation and island coalescence. This methodology offers a cohesive and rational model for GaN heteroepitaxy along polar, nonpolar and semipolar orientations, and is broadly extensible to the heteroepitaxy of other materials. We demonstrate furthermore that the control of morphological evolution, based on invoking a detailed knowledge of the v-plots, holds a key to the reduction of microstructural defects through effective bending of dislocations and blocking of stacking faults. The status and outlook of semipolar and nonpolar GaN growth on sapphire substrates will be presented.