Infrared generalized ellipsometry on non-polar and superlattice group-III nitride films: strain and phonon anisotropy



This contribution reviews the application of generalized infrared spectroscopic ellipsometry (GIRSE) to studies of optical phonons in heteroepitaxial wurtzite GaN films with a -plane orientation and c -plane Al(Ga)N/GaN superlattices. We demonstrate the capability of GIRSE to detect spectrally narrow dichroism, caused by anisotropic strain in non-polar oriented films thereby allowing a precise location of the phonon mode resonances for different polarizations. A distinct correlation between anisotropic strain components, which have been independently assessed by high-resolution X-ray diffraction, and phonon frequencies reveal the phonon deformation potentials. Further, GIRSE is shown to be a valuable tool in identification of superlattice phonon modes and their character. The frequency shifts of the superlattice modes with respect to the strain-free positions are analyzed versus strain and composition in order to assess the mode suitability for estimation of strain, polarization doping, and composition for the individual layers in complex device heterostructures. (© 2008 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)