Growth and Characterization of AlN : From Nano Structures to Bulk Material

Abstract: Aluminum nitride (AlN) exhibits a large direct band gap, 6.2 eV, and is thus suitable forsolid state white-light-emitting devices. It is capable in spintronics because of its high Curietemperature if doped with transition metals. AlN can also be used as a buffer layer for growth ofdevice-grade GaN as well as for application in sensors, surface acoustic wave devices, and hightemperatureelectronics. AlN shows excellent field-emission performance in vacuummicroelectronic devices due to its small electron affinity value, which is from negative to 0.6 eV.In this sense, nanostructured AlN, such as AlN nanowires and nanorods, is important forextending our knowledge on the potential of nanodevice applications. For growth of bulk AlN thesublimation- recondensation (a kind of physical vapor transport growth) method is the mostsuccessful and promising crystal growth technique.In thesis the physical vapor transport (PVT) principle has been implemented for synthesisof AlN on 4H-SiC in sublimation epitaxy close space configuration. It has been shown that theAlN crystal morphology is responsive to the growth conditions given by temperature (1650-1900oC) and nitrogen pressure (200-800 mbar) and each morphology kind (platelet-like, needles, columnar structure, continuous layers, and free-standing quasi bulk material) occurs within anarrow window of growth parameters. Controlled operation conditions for PVT growth of wellaligned perfectly oriented arrays of AlN highly symmetric hexagonal microrods have beenelaborated and the mechanism of microrod formation has been elucidated. Special patterned SiCsubstrates have been created which act as templates for the AlN selective area growth. Themicrorods revealed an excellent feature of boundary free coalescence with growth time,eventually forming ~120 μm thick AlN layer which can be easily detached from the SiC substratedue to a remarkable performance of structural evolution. It was discovered that the locally grownAlN microrods emerge from sharp tipped hexagonal pyramids, which consist of the rare 2H-SiCpolytype and a thin AlN layer on the surface. Two unique consequences appear from the finding,the first is that the 2H-SiC polytype facilitates the nucleation of wurtzite AlN, and the second isthat the bond between the low angle apex of the pyramids and the AlN layer is very week, thusallowing an easy separation to yield free standing wafers. AlN nanowires with an aspect ratioas high as 600 have been grown with a high growth rate. Again, they have perfect alignmentalong the c-axis of the wurtzite structure with small tilt given by the orientation of the SiCsubstrate. The nanowires possess a single crystal structure with high perfection, since neitherdislocations nor stacking faults were revealed.The proposed growth concept can be further explored to enlarge the free standing AlNwafers up to a size provided by commercially available SiC four inch wafers. Also, AlN wafersfabricated by the present method may be used as seeds for large boule growth. AlN nanowires, asobtained in this study, can be used for creating a piezoelectric generator and field emitters withhigh efficiency.