Influence of the annealing ambient on structural and optical properties of rare earth implanted GaN

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GaN films were implanted with Er and Eu ions and rapid thermal annealing was performed at 1000, 1100 and 1200 ⁰C in vacuum, in flowing nitrogen gas or a mixture of NH₃ and N₂. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry in the channeling mode was used to study the evolution of damage introduction and recovery in the Ga sublattice and to monitor the rare earth profiles after annealing. The surface morphology of the samples was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and the optical properties by room temperature cathodoluminescence (CL). Samples annealed in vacuum and N₂ already show the first signs of surface dissociation at 1000 ⁰C. At higher temperature, Ga droplets form, at the surface. However, samples annealed in NH₃+N₂ exhibit a very good recovery of the lattice along with a smooth surface. These samples also show the strongest CL intensity for the rare earth related emissions in the green (for Er) and red (for Eu). After annealing at 1200 ⁰C in NH₃+N₂ the Eu implanted sample reveals the channeling qualities of an unimplanted sample and a strong increase of CL intensity is observed.
© Materials Research Soc. Symposium on GaN, AIN, InN Related Materials held at the 2005 MRS Fall Meeting. (2005. Boston). The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. O. Briot (Univ. Montpellier II, France) for the supply of GaN material. The work was partially funded through the European Research Training Network RENiBEl (HPRN-CT-2001-00297) and the bilateral collaboration program by DAAD (Germany) / GRICES (Portugal)