Nanoscopic insights into the effect of silicon on core-shell InGaN/GaN nanorods: Luminescence, composition, and structure

13 Mar 2018

GaN-based nanorods and nanowires have recently shown great potential as a platform for future energy-efficient photonic and optoelectronic applications, such as light emitting diodes and nanolasers. Currently, the most industrially scalable method of growing III-nitride nanorods remains metal-organic vapour phase epitaxy: whilst this growth method is often used in conjunction with extrinsic metallic catalyst particles, these particles can introduce unwanted artifacts in the nanorods such as stacking faults. In this paper, we examine the catalyst-free growth of GaN/InGaN core-shell nanorods by metal-organic vapor phase epitaxy for optoelectronic applications using silane to enhance the vertical growth of the nanorods. We find that both the silane concentration and exposure time can greatly affect the nanorod properties, and that larger concentrations and longer exposure times can severely degrade the nanorod structure and thus result in reduced emission from the InGaN QW shell. Finally, we report that the mechanism behind the effect of silane on the nanorod structure is the unintentional formation of an SiNx interlayer following completion of the growth of the nanorod core. This interlayer induces the growth of GaN islands on the nanorod sidewalls, the spatial distribution of which can affect their subsequent coalescence during the lateral growth stages and result in non-uniformity in the nanorod structure. This suggests that careful control of the silane flow must be exerted during growth to achieve both high aspect ratio nanorods and uniform emission along the length of the nanorod.