Edge Dislocations Triggered Surface Instability in Tensile Epitaxial Hexagonal Nitride Semiconductor

Jianpeng Cheng, Xuelin Yang*, Jie Zhang, Anqi Hu, Panfeng Ji, Yuxia Feng, Lei Guo, Chenguang He, Lisheng Zhang, Fujun Xu, Ning Tang, Xinqiang Wang, Bo Shen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the semiconductor surface and its properties including surface stability, atomic morphologies, and even electronic states is of great importance not only for understanding surface growth kinetics but also for evaluating the degree to which they affect the devices' performance. Here, we report studies on the nanoscale fissures related surface instability in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures. Experimental results reveal that edge dislocations are actually the root cause of the surface instability. The nanoscale fissures are initially triggered by the edge dislocations, and the subsequent evolution is associated with tensile lattice-mismatch stress and hydrogen etching. Our findings resolve a long-standing problem on the surface instability in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures and will also lead to new understandings of surface growth kinetics in other hexagonal semiconductor systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34108-34114
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • edge dislocations
  • hexagonal nitrides
  • nanoscale fissures
  • surface instability
  • TEM


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