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Cubic GaN and InGaN/GaN quantum wells

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jats:pLEDs based on hexagonal InGaN/GaN quantum wells are dominant technology for many lighting applications. However, their luminous efficacy for green and amber emission and at high drive currents remains limited. Growing quantum wells instead in the cubic phase is a promising alternative because, compared to hexagonal GaN, it benefits from a reduced bandgap and is free of the strong polarization fields that can reduce the radiative recombination rate. Initial attempts to grow cubic GaN in the 1990s employed molecular beam epitaxy, but now, metal-organic chemical vapor deposition can also be used. Nonetheless, high phase purity requires careful attention to growth conditions and the quantification of any unwanted hexagonal phase. In contrast to hexagonal GaN, in which threading dislocations are key, at its current state of maturity, the most important extended structural defects in cubic GaN are stacking faults. These modify the optical properties of cubic GaN films and propagate into active layers. In quantum wells and electron blocking layers, segregation of alloying elements at stacking faults has been observed, leading to the formation of quantum wires and polarized emission. This observation forms part of a developing understanding of the optical properties of cubic InGaN quantum wells, which also offer shorter recombination lifetimes than their polar hexagonal counterparts. There is also growing expertise in p-doping, including dopant activation by annealing. Overall, cubic GaN has rapidly transitioned from an academic curiosity to a real prospect for application in devices, with the potential to offer specific performance advantages compared to polar hexagonal material.</jats:p>



3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 34 Chemical Sciences

Journal Title

Applied Physics Reviews

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AIP Publishing
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M010589/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R01146X/1)