Temperature dependence of the crystalline quality of AlN layer grown on sapphire substrates by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition

Xiao Hang Li*, Yong O. Wei, Shuo Wang, Hongen Xie, Tsung Ting Kao, Md Mahbub Satter, Shyh Chiang Shen, P. Douglas Yoder, Theeradetch Detchprohm, Russell D. Dupuis, Alec M. Fischer, Fernando A. Ponce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We studied temperature dependence of crystalline quality of AlN layers at 1050-1250°C with a fine increment step of around 18°C. The AlN layers were grown on c-plane sapphire substrates by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) ω-scans and atomic force microscopy (AFM). At 1050-1068°C, the templates exhibited poor quality with surface pits and higher XRD (002) and (102) full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) because of insufficient Al atom mobility. At 1086°C, the surface became smooth suggesting sufficient Al atom mobility. Above 1086 C, the (102) FWHM and thus edge dislocation density increased with temperatures which may be attributed to the shorter growth mode transition from three-dimension (3D) to two-dimension (2D). Above 1212 C, surface macro-steps were formed due to the longer diffusion length of Al atoms than the expected step terrace width. The edge dislocation density increased rapidly above 1212 C, indicating this temperature may be a threshold above which the impact of the transition from 3D to 2D is more significant. The (002) FWHM and thus screw dislocation density were insensitive to the temperature change. This study suggests that high-quality AlN/sapphire templates may be potentially achieved at temperatures as low as 1086°C which is accessible by most of the III-nitride MOCVD systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Crystal Growth
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • A1. Characterization
  • A3. Metalorganic chemical vapor deposition
  • B1. Nitrides
  • B2. Semiconducting aluminum compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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