Relationship of basal plane and prismatic stacking faults in GaN to low temperature photoluminescence peaks at ∼3.4 eV and ∼3.2 eV

J. Bai, M. Dudley, L. Chen, Brian Skromme, P. J. Hartlieb, E. Michaels, J. W. Kolis, B. Wagner, R. F. Davis, U. Chowdhury, R. D. Dupuis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The relationship between the optical properties and microstructure of GaN is of great interest due to the important optical and electronic applications of this material. Several different studies have been reported attempting to link the low temperature photoluminescence (PL) peak at ∼3.4 eV to the presence of various microstructural defects. However, no clear systematic studies have been reported establishing such a link for the PL peak observed at ∼3.2 eV. In this paper, we present evidence linking the ∼3.4 eV PL peak to the presence of a thin layer of cubic phase associated with basal plane stacking faults (BSF). This relationship is mainly established by studying a series of ammonothermally-grown GaN bulk crystals. The existence and strength of the ∼3.4 eV peak are found to be related to the I 2 type BSF (R I2=1/3〈10 1̄0〉) observed in these samples. To investigate the relationship between the ∼3.2 eV peak and structural defects, a series of GaN epilayers grown on either SiC or sapphire (of various off-cut angles) was investigated by TEM and PL spectroscopy. Samples grown on 3.5° off-cut SiC and 5° and 9° off-cut sapphire substrates exhibit PL peaks near ∼3.2 and ∼3.4 eV, which are absent in the on-axis SiC and sapphire cases. TEM shows that the former group of samples has defect configurations consisting of prismatic stacking faults (PSFs) folding back and forth between two different {11 2Macr;0} planes connected by stair rod dislocations, which in turn fold onto to I 1 type BSFs again with stair rod dislocations at the fault intersections. The ∼3.2 eV PL peaks are proposed to possibly arise from transitions involving the PSFs and the stair rods associated with their mutual intersections and their intersections with the BSFs. The ∼3.4 eV peak is again attributed to the thin layer of cubic phase associated with the I 1 type BSF (three bilayers as opposed to four bilayers for the I 2 type BSF).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
EditorsC. Wetzel, B. Gil, M. Kuzuhara, M. Manfra
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2005
Event2004 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 29 2004Dec 3 2004


Other2004 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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