Ultraviolet emitters grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition
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This thesis presents the development of III-nitride materials for deep-ultraviolet (DUV) light emitting devices. The goal of this research is to develop a DUV laser diode (LD) operating at room temperature. Epitaxial structures for these devices are grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and several material analysis techniques were employed to characterize these structures such as atomic force microscopy, electroluminescence, Hall-effect measurement, photoluminescence, secondary ion mass spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy, transmission line measurement, and X-ray diffraction. Each of these will be discussed in detail. The active regions of III-nitride based UV emitters are composed of AlxGa1-xN alloys, the bandgap of which can be tuned from 3.4 eV to 6.2 eV, which allows us to attain the desired wavelength in the DUV by engineering the molar fraction of aluminum and gallium. In order to emit photons in the DUV wavelength range (> 4.1 eV), high aluminum molar fraction AlxGa1-xN alloys are required. Since aluminum has very low ad-atom mobility on the growth surface, a very low group V to group III precursor ratio (known as V/III ratio), high growth temperature, and low growth pressure is required to form a smooth surface and subsequently abrupt heterointerfaces. The first part of this work focuses on developing high-quality multi-quantum well structures using high aluminum molar fraction ([Al] > 60%) AlxGa1-xN alloys. Optically pumped DUV lasers were demonstrated with threshold power density as low as 250 kW/cm² for the emission wavelength as short as 248.3 nm. Transverse electric (TE) -like emission dominates when the lasers were operating above threshold power density, which suggests the diode design requires the active region to be fully strained to promote better confinement of the optical mode in transverse direction. The second phase of this project is to achieve an electrically driven injection diode laser. Owing to their large bandgap, low intrinsic carrier concentration, and relatively high dopant activation energy, the nature of these high aluminum molar fraction materials are highly insulating; therefore, efficiently transport carriers into active region is one of the main challenges. Highly conducting p-type material is especially difficult to achieve because the activation energy for magnesium, a typical dopant, is relatively large and some of the acceptors are compensated by the hydrogen during the growth. Furthermore, due to the lack of a large work function material to form a p-type ohmic contact, the p-contact layer design is limited to low aluminum molar fraction material or gallium nitride. Besides the fabrication challenges, these low aluminum molar fraction materials are not transparent to the laser wavelength causing relatively high internal loss (αi). In this work, an inverse tapered p-waveguide design is employed to transport holes to active region efficiently while the graded-index separate-confinement heterostructure (GRINSCH) is employed for the active region design. Together, a multi-quantum well (MQW) ultraviolet emitter was demonstrated.