Improved understanding and control of Mg-doped GaN by plasma assisted molecular beam epitaxy

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Burnham, Shawn David
Doolittle, William Alan
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By an improved understanding of Mg-doped GaN through an exhaustive review of current limitations, increased control over the material was achieved by addressing several of these issues. To address the issues of the memory effect, low sticking coefficient and high vapor pressure of Mg, a new Mg dopant source was implemented, characterized and modeled for p-type doping of GaN. The device enhanced the sticking coefficient of Mg by energizing the outgoing Mg flux, and also allowed the first reported demonstration of an abrupt junction between two non-zero Mg concentrations and a graded Mg-doped GaN film. The significant compensation of Mg acceptors at high dopant concentrations was used advantageously to develop a new ex situ resistivity analysis technique using the energy distributions of SIMS to characterize doping of buried layers. The new technique was used to identify the barrier between conductive and resistive Mg doping for increased Mg concentration, which was then used to optimize Mg-doped GaN. Because Mg doping exhibits a dependence upon the growth regime, a new growth and regime characterization technique was developed using specific RHEED intensity responses to repeat growth conditions. During the development of this technique, a new surface kinetics growth model for III-nitrides was discovered based on DMS observations, which suggests preferential buildup of the metal bilayer before growth begins with an unfamiliar cation-anion exchange process initially upon metal shutter opening. Using the new RHEED growth and regime characterization technique, a new growth technique called metal modulated epitaxy (MME) was developed to increase repeatability, uniformity and smoothness. The MME technique was enhanced with a closed-loop control using real-time feedback from RHEED transients to control shutter transitions. This enhancement, called smart shuttering, led to improved growth rate and further improvement of surface roughness and grain size, which were repeatable within low percentages. Effects of smart-shuttering MME were observed with Si, Mg and In during GaN growths. Repeatable Mg-doped GaN was achieved with a variation of less than 8%, and a peak hole carrier concentration of 4.7E18 cm^-3.
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