X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis of GaN/(0001)AIN and AIN/(0001)GaN growth mechanisms

S. W. King, E. P. Carlson, R. J. Therrien, J. A. Christman, R. J. Nemanich, R. F. Davis

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40 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of growth of GaN on AlN and AlN on GaN via gas source-molecular beam epitaxy with NH3 as the nitrogen source have been investigated using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, low energy electron diffraction, and Auger electron spectroscopy. The growth of GaN on AlN at low temperatures (650-750°C) occurs via a Stranski-Krastanov 2D→3D type mechanism with the transition to 3D growth occurring at ≈10-15 Å. The mechanism changes to Frank van der Merwe (FM)/layer-by-layer growth above 800°C. The growth of AlN on GaN occurred via a FM layer-by-layer mechanism within the 750-900°C temperature range investigated. We propose a model based on the interaction of ammonia and atomic hydrogen with the GaN/AlN surfaces which indicates that the surface kinetics of hydrogen desorption and ammonia decomposition are the factors that determine the GaN growth mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5584-5593
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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