Atomic-Scale Insights to the Role of Carbon in the Performance of Nitride Semiconductor Devices

Nitride semiconductor devices incorporate a high density threading of dislocations. Assessing the chemical environment at the dislocation core is key to understanding the impact of these defects on material properties, and hence the further improvement of next-generation high-efficiency solid-state lighting and high-power electronics. In particular the segregation of low concentrations of carbon to dislocations has been tentatively linked to a wide range of technologically significant phenomena in nitride material. However, its precise role, and the mechanisms by which it influences optoelectronic properties remains poorly understood. This project, in collaboration with Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride, will develop advanced atom probe techniques, as part of a novel multi-microscopy approach, to target direct atomic-scale imaging of carbon segregation to dislocations to investigate proposed links to emission properties of the near-dislocation region in InGaN; reduction of leakage currents through GaN buffer layers and the formation of deep level traps which reduce the reliability of GaN-based high electron mobility transistors.

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