Near-Infrared Absorption in Lattice-Matched AlInN/GaN and Strained AlGaN/GaN Heterostructures Grown by MBE on Low-Defect GaN Substrates

Research paper by C. Edmunds, L. Tang, D. Li, M. Cervantes, G. Gardner, T. Paskova, M. J. Manfra, O. Malis

Indexed on: 01 Feb '12Published on: 01 Feb '12Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials


We have investigated near-infrared absorption and photocurrent in lattice-matched AlInN/GaN and strained AlGaN/GaN heterostructures grown by molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) on low-defect GaN substrates for infrared device applications. The AlGaN/GaN heterostructures were grown under Ga-rich conditions at 745°C. Material characterization via atomic force microscopy and high-resolution x-ray diffraction indicates that the AlGaN/GaN heterostructures have smooth and well-defined interfaces. A minimum full-width at half-maximum of 92 meV was obtained for the width of the intersubband absorption peak at 675 meV of a 13.7 Å GaN/27.5 Å Al0.47Ga0.53N superlattice. The variation of the intersubband absorption energy across a 1 cm × 1 cm wafer was ±1%. An AlGaN/GaN-based electromodulated absorption device and a quantum well infrared detector were also fabricated. Using electromodulated absorption spectroscopy, the full-width at half-maximum of the absorption peak was reduced by 33% compared with the direct absorption measurement. This demonstrates the suitability of the electromodulated absorption technique for determining the intrinsic width of intersubband transitions. The detector displayed a peak responsivity of 195 μA/W at 614 meV (2.02 μm) without bias. Optimal MBE growth conditions for lattice-matched AlInN on low-defect GaN substrates were also studied as a function of total metal flux and growth temperature. A maximum growth rate of 3.8 nm/min was achieved while maintaining a high level of material quality. Intersubband absorption in AlInN/GaN superlattices was observed at 430 meV with full-width at half-maximum of 142 meV. Theoretical calculations of the intersubband absorption energies were found to be in agreement with the experimental results for both AlGaN/GaN and AlInN/GaN heterostructures.