Study of III-nitride Nanowire Growth and Devices on Unconventional Substrates

  • Aditya Prabaswara

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


III-Nitride materials, which consist of AlN, GaN, InN, and their alloys have become the cornerstone of the third generation compound semiconductor. Planar IIINitride materials are commonly grown on sapphire substrates which impose several limitations such as challenging scalability, rigid substrate, and thermal and lattice mismatch between substrate and material. Semiconductor nanowires can help circumvent this problem because of their inherent capability to relieve strain and grow threading dislocation-free without strict lattice matching requirements, enabling growth on unconventional substrates. This thesis aims to investigate the microscopic characteristics of the nanowires and expand on the possibility of using transparent amorphous substrate for III-nitride nanowire devices. In this work, we performed material growth, characterization, and device fabrication of III-nitride nanowires grown using molecular beam epitaxy on unconventional substrates. We first studied the structural imperfections within quantum-disks-in-nanowire structure grown on silicon and discovered how growth condition could affect the macroscopic photoluminescence behavior of nanowires ensemble. To expand our work on unconventional substrates, we also used an amorphous silica-based substrate as a more economical substrate for our nanowire growth. One of the limitations of growing nanowires on an insulating substrate is the added fabrication complexity required to fabricate a working device. Therefore, we attempted to overcome this limitation by 5 investigating various possible GaN nanowire nucleation layers, which exhibits both transparency and conductivity. We employed various nucleation layers, including a thin TiN/Ti layer, indium tin oxide (ITO), and Ti3C2 MXene. The structural, electrical, and optical characterizations of nanowires grown on different nucleation layers are discussed. From our work, we have established several key processes for transparent nanowire device applications. A nanowire LED emitting at ∼590 nm utilizing TiN/Ti interlayer is presented. We have also established the growth process for n-doped GaN nanowires grown on ITO and Ti3C2 MXene with transmittance above 40 % in the visible wavelength, which is useful for practical applications. This work paves the way for future devices utilizing low-cost substrates, enabling further cost reduction in III-nitride device fabrication.
Date of AwardOct 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering
SupervisorBoon Ooi (Supervisor)


  • Gallium nitride
  • Nanowire
  • Molecular beam epitaxy
  • Optoelectronics

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