External charge compensation in etched gallium nitride measured by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

Kevin A. Hatch, Daniel C. Messina, Houqiang Fu, Kai Fu, Yuji Zhao, Robert J. Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Electronic states at GaN surfaces and at regrowth and heteroepitaxy interfaces inhibit electronic device performance. Understanding electronic state configuration at the GaN surface is, therefore, crucial for the development of GaN-based devices, which are currently of considerable interest in power electronic applications. GaN and other wurtzite III-nitrides possess large spontaneous polarization along the c-axis, producing a bound sheet charge at the surface, which affects the electronic state configuration through the formation of internal and external compensation charges. Defects induced by conventional plasma-based dry etching methods may inhibit the internal screening of this bound charge and thus increase the concentration of external charged states. The surface band bending of n-type Ga-face GaN (0001) was measured with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy after inductively coupled plasma etching to investigate the impact of dry etching on external charge compensation. GaN samples were etched using inductively coupled plasma with varying rf power and a novel plasma-enhanced atomic layer etching method using an oxidation, fluorination, and ligand-exchange mechanism. The band bending varied from 0.0 to 0.8 ± 0.1 eV for the samples measured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number185301
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 14 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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