Photo-assisted Kelvin probe force microscopy investigation of three dimensional GaN structures with various crystal facets, doping types, and wavelengths of illumination

Three dimensional GaN structures with different crystal facets and doping types have been investigated employing the surface photo-voltage (SPV) method to monitor illumination-induced surface charge behavior using Kelvin probe force microscopy. Various photon energies near and below the GaN bandgap were used to modify the generation of electron–hole pairs and their motion under the influence of the electric field near the GaN surface. Fast and slow processes for Ga-polar c-planes on both Si-doped n-type as well as Mg-doped p-type GaN truncated pyramid microstructures were found and their origin is discussed. The immediate positive (for n-type) and negative (for p-type) SPV response dominates at band-to-band and near-bandgap excitation, while only the slow process is present at sub-bandgap excitation. The SPV behavior for the semi-polar facets of the p-type GaN truncated pyramids has a similar characteristic to that on its c-plane, which indicates that it has a comparable band bending and no strong influence of the polarity-induced charges is detectable. The SPV behavior of the non-polar m-facets of the Si-doped n-type part of a transferred GaN column is similar to that of a clean c-plane GaN surface during illumination. However, the SPV is smaller in magnitude, which is attributed to intrinsic surface states of m-plane surfaces and their influence on the band bending. The SPV behavior of the non-polar m-facet of the slightly Mgdoped part of this GaN column is found to behave differently. Compared to c- and r-facets of p-type surfaces of GaN-light–emitting diode micro-structures, the m-plane is more chemically stable.



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