In this paper, we report the epitaxial growth and material characteristics of AlGaN (Al mole fraction of 10%) on an AlN/nanopatterned sapphire substrate (NPSS) template by hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE). The crystalline quality, surface morphology, microstructure, and stress state of the AlGaN/AlN/NPSS epilayers were investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results indicate that the crystal quality of the AlGaN film could be improved when grown on the AlN/NPSS template. The screw threading dislocation (TD) density was reduced to 1.4 × 109 cm−2 for the AlGaN epilayer grown on the AlN/NPSS template, which was lower than that of the sample grown on a flat c-plane sapphire substrate (6.3 × 109 cm−2). As examined by XRD measurements, the biaxial tensile stress of the AlGaN film was significantly reduced from 1,187 MPa (on AlN/NPSS) to 38.41 MPa (on flat c-plane sapphire). In particular, an increase of the Al content in the overgrown AlGaN layer was confirmed by the TEM observation. This could be due to the relaxation of the in-plane stress through the AlGaN and AlN/NPSS template interface.
- Hydride vapor phase epitaxy
- Nanopatterned sapphire substrate
- Transmission electron microscopy