Published in J. Electron. Mater. 26, 1342 (1997).

Nanometer-scale studies of nitride/arsenide heterostructures produced by nitrogen plasma exposure of GaAs

R.S. Goldman R.M. Feenstra
Department of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
B. G. Briner
IBM Research Division, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598
M.L. O'Steen and R.J. Hauenstein
Department of Physics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater Oklahoma


We have investigated the nanometer-scale structure and electronic properties of nitride/arsenide superlattices produced by nitridation of a molecular beam epitaxially grown GaAs surface. Using cross-sectional scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, we find that the nitrided layers are not continuous films, but consist of groups of atomic-scale defects and larger clusters. We identify the defects and clusters as NAs$ and GaN with dilute As concentration, respectively. Thus, the nitrided regions consist of alloys from both sides of the miscibility gap predicted for the GaAsN system. In addition, spectroscopy on the clusters reveals an upward shift of the band edges and band gap narrowing, with significant change in the conduction band structure. We estimate the contribution of strain to band gap narrowing in terms of an elasticity calculation for a coherently strained spherical GaN cluster embedded in GaAs.

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