Pulsed laser deposition and processing of wide band gap semiconductors and related materials

Research paper by R. D. Vispute, S. Choopun, R. Enck, A. Patel, V. Talyansky, R. P. Sharma, T. Venkatesan, W. L. Sarney, L. Salamancariba, S. N. Andronescu, A. A. Iliadis, K. A. Jones

Indexed on: 01 Mar '99Published on: 01 Mar '99Published in: Journal of Electronic Materials


The present work describes the novel, relatively simple, and efficient technique of pulsed laser deposition for rapid prototyping of thin films and multi-layer heterostructures of wide band gap semiconductors and related materials. In this method, a KrF pulsed excimer laser is used for ablation of polycrystalline, stoichiometric targets of wide band gap materials. Upon laser absorption by the target surface, a strong plasm a plume is produced which then condenses onto the substrate, kept at a suitable distance from the target surface. We have optimized the processing parameters such as laser fluence, substrate temperature, background gas pressure, target to substrate distance, and pulse repetition rate for the growth of high quality crstalline thin films and heterostructures. The films have been characterized by x-ray diffraction, Rutherford backscattering and ion channeling spectrometry, high resolution transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, ultraviolet (UV)-visible spectroscopy, cathodoluminescence, and electrical transport measurements. We show that high quality AlN and GaN thin films can be grown by pulsed laser deposition at relatively lower substrate temperatures (750–800°C) than those employed in metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), (1000–1100°C), an alternative growth method. The pulsed laser deposited GaN films (∼0.5 µm thick), grown on AlN buffered sapphire (0001), shows an x-ray diffraction rocking curve full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 5–7 arc-min. The ion channeling minimum yield in the surface region for AlN and GaN is ∼3%, indicating a high degree of crystallinity. The optical band gap for AlN and GaN is found to be 6.2 and 3.4 eV, respectively. These epitaxial films are shiny, and the surface root mean square roughness is ∼5–15 nm. The electrical resistivity of the GaN films is in the range of 10−2–102 Θ-cm with a mobility in excess of 80 cm2V−1s−1 and a carrier concentration of 1017–1019 cm−3, depending upon the buffer layers and growth conditions. We have also demonstrated the application of the pulsed laser deposition technique for integration of technologically important materials with the III–V nitrides. The examples include pulsed laser deposition of ZnO/GaN heterostructures for UV-blue lasers and epitaxial growth of TiN on GaN and SiC for low resistance ohmic contact metallization. Employing the pulsed laser, we also demonstrate a dry etching process for GaN and AlN films.