Optical Studies of Polar InGaN/GaN Quantum Well Structures

  • William Blenkhorn

Student thesis: Phd


The work in this thesis was submitted to The University of Manchester for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in April 2016 by William Eric Blenkhorn and is entitled "Optical Studies of Polar InGaN/GaN Quantum Well Structures".In this thesis, I will present and discuss research performed on InGaN/GaN multiple quantum well (QW) structures. The results of which were taken using photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy and PL time decay spectroscopy.In the first two experimental chapters, I report on the effects of QW growth methodology on the optical properties of c-plane InGaN/GaN QWs. I compare structures grown using the single temperature (1T), quasi-two temperature (Q2T), temperature bounced (T-bounced) and two temperature (2T) QW growth methodologies. The T-bounced and 2T structures are observed to have gross well width fluctuations (GWWF), where the QW width varies from 0 to 100 % created when the QWs are exposed to a temperature ramp. Whereas, the 1T and Q2T structures have continuous QWs with only one or two monolayer well width fluctuations. The structures with GWWFs are observed to have a larger room temperature internal quantum efficiency (RT-IQE) at low excitation conditions i.e. below efficiency droop compared to those without. The larger RT-IQE is ascribed to several factors which include an increased radiative recombination rate, increased thermal activation energy of non-radiative recombination and reduced defect density of the QWs. The effect of barrier growth temperature is also investigated. No clear trend is observed between barrier growth temperature and RT-IQE.In the last experimental chapter I report on studies of carrier localisation in InGaN/GaN QWs using resonant PL spectroscopy. The effect of carrier localisation on the independently localised electrons and holes are investigated and the resonant PL spectrum is studied in detail. The InGaN/GaN QW structure is observed to exhibit an effective mobility edge at 12 K where delocalised carriers are created above a particular excitation energy. The emission from the resonantly excited localised states which are accompanied by the emission of a longitudinal optical phonon (resonant LO feature) is investigated as a function of temperature and excitation energy. The integrated PL intensity of the resonant LO feature is observed to quench rapidly with temperature up to around 45 K, independent of excitation energy. The integrated PL intensity of the resonant LO feature is fitted to an Arrhenius model and a thermal activation energy of ∼ 1(±1) meV is extracted. This activation energy is speculated to be consistent with the localisation energy of electrons.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPhilip Dawson (Supervisor)


  • InGaN/GaN quantum wells
  • Carrier localisation
  • Internal quantum efficiency
  • Gross well width fluctuations
  • Quantum well growth methodology

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