Piezoresponse force microscopy for piezoelectric measurements of III-nitride materials

B. J. Rodriguez, A. Gruverman, A. I. Kingon, R. J. Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Piezoelectric constants and polarity distributions of epitaxial AlN and GaN thin films are investigated by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM). The magnitude of the effective longitudinal piezoelectric constant d33 is determined to be 3 ± 1 and 2 ± 1 pm/V for wurtzite AlN and GaN/AlN layers grown by organo-metallic vapor phase epitaxy on SiC substrates, respectively. Simultaneous imaging of surface morphology as well as the phase and magnitude of the piezoelectric response is performed by PFM on a GaN film with patterned polarities on a c-Al2O3 substrate. We demonstrate that the polarity distribution of GaN based lateral polarity heterostructures can be deduced from the phase image of the piezoresponse with nanometer scale spatial resolution. We also present images of AlN/Si samples with regions of opposite piezoresponse phase, which indicate the presence of antiphase domains. We discuss the potential application of this technique for determination of the orientation of bulk crystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Crystal Growth
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 16 2002
Externally publishedYes
EventBNS 2002 - Amazonas, Brazil
Duration: May 18 2002May 23 2002


  • A1. Atomic force microscopy
  • B2. Piezoelectric materials
  • B2. Semiconducting III-V materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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