Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Optical Properties of BAlN and BGaN Alloys

  • Feras S. AlQatari

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Wurtzite III-nitride semiconductor materials have many technically important applications in optical and electronic devices. As GaN-based visible light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers starts to mature, interest in developing UV devices starts to rise. The search for materials with larger bandgaps and high refractive index contrast in the UV range has inspired multiple studies of BN-based materials and their alloys with traditional III-nitrides. Additionally, alloying III-nitrides with boron can reduce their lattice parameters giving a new option for strain engineering and lattice matching. In this work I investigate the refractive indices of BAlN and BGaN over the entire compositional range using hybrid density functional theory (DFT). An interesting non-linear trend of the refractive index curves appears as boron content is increased in the BAlN and BGaN alloys. The results of this calculation were interpolated and plotted in three dimensions for better visualization. This interpolation gives a 3D dataset that can be used in designing a myriad of devices at all binary and ternary alloy compositions in the BAlGaN system. The interpolated surface was used to find an optimum design for a strain-free, high reflection coefficient and high bandwidth DBR. The performance of this DBR was quantitatively evaluated using finite element simulations. I found that the maximum DBR reflectivity with widest bandwidth for our materials occurs at a lattice parameter of 3.113 Å using the generated 3D dataset. I use the corresponding material pair to simulate a DBR at the wavelength 375 nm in the UVA range. A design with 25 pairs was found to have a peak reflectivity of 99.8%. This design has a predicted bandwidth of 26 nm measured at 90% peak performance. The high reflectivity and wide bandwidth of this lattice-matched design are optimal for UVA VCSEL applications. I have assisted in exploring different metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) techniques, continuous growth and pulsed-flow modulation, to grow and characterize BAlN alloys. Samples grown using continuous flow show better optical quality and are characterized using spectroscopic ellipsometry. The refractive index of samples obtained experimentally is significantly below the predicted value using DFT.
Date of AwardApr 21 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorXiaohang Li (Supervisor)


  • BAlN
  • BGaN
  • DFT
  • Ellipsometry
  • Distributed Bragg Reflectors
  • Refractive Indices

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