Molecular beam epitaxy growth of indium nitride and indium gallium nitride materials for photovoltaic applications
Trybus, Elaissa Lee
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The objective of the proposed research is to establish the technology for material growth by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and fabrication of indium gallium nitride/gallium nitride (InxGa1-xN/GaN) heterojunction solar cells. InxGa1-xN solar cell have the potential to span 90% of the solar spectrum, however there has been no success with high indium (In) incorporation and only limited success with low In incorporation InxGa1-xN. Therefore, this present work focuses on 15 - 30% In incorporation leading to a bandgap value of 2.3 - 2.8 eV. This work will exploit the revision of the indium nitride (InN) bandgap value of 0.68 eV, which expands the range of the optical emission of nitride-based devices from ultraviolet to near infrared regions, by developing transparent InxGa1-xN solar cells outside the visible spectrum. Photovoltaic devices with a bandgap greater than 2.0 eV are attractive because over half the available power in the solar spectrum is above the photon energy of 2.0 eV. The ability of InxGa1-xN materials to optimally span the solar spectrum offers a tantalizing solution for high-efficiency photovoltaics. Using the metal modulated epitaxy (MME) technique in a new, ultra-clean refurbished MBE system, an innovative growth regime is established where In and Ga phase separation is diminished by increasing the growth rate for InxGa1-xN. The MME technique modulates the metal shutters with a fixed duty cycle while maintaining a constant nitrogen flux and proves effective for improving crystal quality and p-type doping. We demonstrate the ability to repeatedly grow high hole concentration Mg-doped GaN films using the MME technique. The highest hole concentration obtained is equal to 4.26 e19 cm-3, resistivity of 0.5 Ω-cm, and mobility of 0.28 cm2/V-s. We have achieved hole concentrations significantly higher than recorded in the literature, proving that our growth parameters and the MME technique is feasible, repeatable, and beneficial. The high hole concentration p-GaN is used as the emitter in our InxGa1-xN solar cell devices.