Structure and strain relaxation effects of defects in InxGa1-xN epilayers

S. L. Rhode, W. Y. Fu, M. A. Moram, F. C.P. Massabuau, M. J. Kappers, C. McAleese, F. Oehler, C. J. Humphreys, R. O. Dusane, S. L. Sahonta

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of trench defects is observed in 160 nm-thick InxGa1-xN epilayers with x ≤ 0.20, grown on GaN on (0001) sapphire substrates using metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy. The trench defect density increases with increasing indium content, and high resolution transmission electron microscopy shows an identical structure to those observed previously in InGaN quantum wells, comprising meandering stacking mismatch boundaries connected to an I1-type basal plane stacking fault. These defects do not appear to relieve in-plane compressive strain. Other horizontal sub-interface defects are also observed within the GaN pseudosubstrate layer of these samples and are found to be pre-existing threading dislocations which form half-loops by bending into the basal plane, and not basal plane stacking faults, as previously reported by other groups. The origins of these defects are discussed and are likely to originate from a combination of the small in-plane misorientation of the sapphire substrate and the thermal mismatch strain between the GaN and InGaN layers grown at different temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103513
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2014


  • strain relaxation effects
  • semiconductor device fabrication
  • quantum wells
  • atomic force microscopy
  • transmission electron microscopy
  • mechanical stress
  • crystal lattices
  • crystal structure
  • epitaxy
  • crystallographic defects


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