R Colby, Z Liang, IH Wildeson, DA Ewoldt, TD Sands, RE García, EA Stach “Dislocation Filtering in GaN Nanostructures.” Nano Letters. 10(5): 1568-1573, 2010.
Dislocation filtering in GaN by selective area growth through a nanoporous template is examined both by transmission electron microscopy and numerical modeling. These nanorods grow epitaxially from the (0001)-oriented GaN underlayer through the ∼100 nm thick template and naturally terminate with hexagonal pyramid-shaped caps. It is demonstrated that for a certain window of geometric parameters a threading dislocation growing within a GaN nanorod is likely to be excluded by the strong image forces of the nearby free surfaces. Approximately 3000 nanorods were examined in cross-section, including growth through 50 and 80 nm diameter pores. The very few threading dislocations not filtered by the template turn toward a free surface within the nanorod, exiting less than 50 nm past the base of the template. The potential active region for light-emitting diode devices based on these nanorods would have been entirely free of threading dislocations for all samples examined. A greater than 2 orders of magnitude reduction in threading dislocation density can be surmised from a data set of this size. A finite element-based implementation of the eigenstrain model was employed to corroborate the experimentally observed data and examine a larger range of potential nanorod geometries, providing a simple map of the different regimes of dislocation filtering for this class of GaN nanorods. These results indicate that nanostructured semiconductor materials are effective at eliminating deleterious extended defects, as necessary to enhance the optoelectronic performance and device lifetimes compared to conventional planar heterostructures.