Advanced Functional Materials

Cover image for Vol. 27 Issue 16

17_01/2007Cover Picture: Role of Nanoscale Strain Inhomogeneity on the Light Emission from InGaN Epilayers (Adv. Funct. Mater. 1/2007)

Pereira and co-workers report on p. 37 that nanoscale strain inhomogeneity plays a fundamental role in the spectral properties of InGaN/GaN epilayers. For layers grown above a certain critical thickness, a strong and spatially varying strain profile accompanies a nonplanar surface morphology (as shown on the cover), which is associated with a transition from planar 2D to a Stranski–Krastanow-like 2D/3D growth mode. Within this framework, apparently disparate experimental observations regarding structural and optical properties, previously reported for InGaN layers, are reconciled.

InGaN is the basis of a new generation of light-emitting devices, with enormous technological potential; it is currently one of the most intensively studied semiconductor materials. It is generally accepted that compositional fluctuations resulting from phase segregation are the origin of the high luminescence efficiency of InGaN. Evidence to show that nanoscale strain inhomogeneity plays a fundamental role in determining the spectral properties of InGaN–GaN heterostructures is reported. For layers above a certain critical thickness, a strong spatially varying strain profile accompanies a nonplanar surface morphology, which is associated with a transition from a planar 2D to a Stranski–Krastanow-like 2D–3D growth mode; the strong dependence of the critical thickness on the local InN content of the growing films drives a non-linear growth instability. Within this framework, apparently disparate experimental observations regarding structural and optical properties, previously reported for InGaN layers, are reconciled by a simple phenomenological description.

Read Full Text  | Table of Contents

Cover Gallery

SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION