Atomistic Insights on Surface Quality Control via Annealing Process in AlGaN Thin Film Growth

Q Peng and ZW Ma and SX Cai and S Zhao and XJ Chen and Q Cao, NANOMATERIALS, 13, 1382 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/nano13081382

Aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) is a nanohybrid semiconductor material with a wide bandgap, high electron mobility, and high thermal stability for various applications including high-power electronics and deep ultraviolet light-emitting diodes. The quality of thin films greatly affects their performance in applications in electronics and optoelectronics, whereas optimizing the growth conditions for high quality is a great challenge. Herein, we have investigated the process parameters for the growth of AlGaN thin films via molecular dynamics simulations. The effects of annealing temperature, the heating and cooling rate, the number of annealing rounds, and high temperature relaxation on the quality of AlGaN thin films have been examined for two annealing modes: constant temperature annealing and laser thermal annealing. Our results reveal that for the mode of constant temperature annealing, the optimum annealing temperature is much higher than the growth temperature in annealing at the picosecond time scale. The lower heating and cooling rates and multiple-round annealing contribute to the increase in the crystallization of the films. For the mode of laser thermal annealing, similar effects have been observed, except that the bonding process is earlier than the potential energy reduction. The optimum AlGaN thin film is achieved at a thermal annealing temperature of 4600 K and six rounds of annealing. Our atomistic investigation provides atomistic insights and fundamental understanding of the annealing process, which could be beneficial for the growth of AlGaN thin films and their broad applications.

Return to Publications page