Comprehensive study of the electronic and optical behavior of highly degenerate p-type Mg-doped GaN and AlGaN

Brendan P. Gunning, Chloe A M Fabien, Joseph J. Merola, Evan A. Clinton, W. Alan Doolittle, Shuo Wang, Alec M. Fischer, Fernando Ponce

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50 Scopus citations


The bulk and 2-dimensional (2D) electrical transport properties of heavily Mg-doped p-type GaN films grown on AlN buffer layers by Metal Modulated Epitaxy are explored. Distinctions are made between three primary p-type conduction mechanisms: traditional valence band conduction, impurity band conduction, and 2D conduction within a 2D hole gas at a hetero-interface. The bulk and 2D contributions to the overall carrier transport are identified and the relative contributions are found to vary strongly with growth conditions. Films grown with III/V ratio less than 1.5 exhibit high hole concentrations exceeding 2 × 1019 cm-3 with effective acceptor activation energies of 51 meV. Films with III/V ratios greater than 1.5 exhibit lower overall hole concentrations and significant contributions from 2D transport at the hetero-interface. Films grown with III/V ratio of 1.2 and Mg concentrations exceeding 2 × 1020 cm-3 show no detectable inversion domains or Mg precipitation. Highly Mg-doped p-GaN and p-AlGaN with Al fractions up to 27% similarly exhibit hole concentrations exceeding 2 × 1019 cm-3. The p-GaN and p-Al0.11Ga0.89N films show broad ultraviolet (UV) photoluminescence peaks, which intercept the valence band, supporting the presence of a Mg acceptor band. Finally, a multi-quantum-well light-emitting diode (LED) and p-i-n diode are grown, both of which demonstrate rectifying behavior with turn-on voltages of 3-3.5 V and series resistances of 6-10 Ω without the need for any post-metallization annealing. The LED exhibits violet-blue luminescence at 425 nm, while the p-i-n diode shows UV luminescence at 381 nm, and both devices still show substantial light emission even when submerged in liquid nitrogen at 77 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045710
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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