Photoluminescence Studies of InGaN/GaN Quantum Well Structures

  • George Christian

Student thesis: Phd


In this thesis, optical studies of c-plane InGaN/GaN quantum well (QW) structures are presented. The effects of a Si-doped underlayer (UL) on the optical properties of multiple quantum well (MQW) structures are investigated. The QW photoluminescence (PL) emission peak energy and radiative recombination rate decrease and increase respectively with increasing number of QWs. These observations are attributed to the increasing net electric field across the MQW structure as the strength of the surface polarisation field, which acts in the opposite sense to the piezoelectric polarisation fields across the QWs, reduces with increasing distance of the UL from the sample surface. This leads to a reduction in the electron-hole recombination energy and wavefunction overlap. It is also shown that the internal quantum efficiency of the MQW structures may decrease with increasing number of QWs due to the reducing radiative recombination rate, which could indicate that carrier losses due to thermionic emission or interface recombination are mitigated by the inclusion of an UL. Optical studies of single QW structures containing Si-doped ULs with different net electric fields across the QW are presented. The net electric field across the QW is changed by varying the thickness of the GaN cap layer. The full width at half maximum of the emission peak increases with increasing net electric field across the QW. This is attributed to the increasing variation in electron ground state energies due to the role of the electric field in the localisation of electrons at quantum well width fluctuations. For one sample, a smaller Huang-Rhys factor compared to the rest of the samples is calculated. The non-exponential PL decays detected on the low energy side of the QW emission peak from this sample are also of a different shape to the other PL decays detected at all energies for the other samples. This may be due to the reversal of the net electric field across these QW regions. Observations of a broad emission band on the high energy side of single QW structures at high excited carrier densities are presented. This band occurs in the carrier density regime at which the efficiency droop is observed. The emission band is attributed to higher energy weakly localised or delocalised electron and hole states that are populated following the saturation of the localised ground states. PL decay curves detected across this emission band exhibit plateaus where the PL intensity remains constant until the higher energy emission has decayed. These are similar to decays observed in semiconductor quantum dots, which are characteristic of Pauli state blocking.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDawson (Supervisor) & David Binks (Supervisor)


  • semiconductor
  • quantum well
  • nitrides
  • gallium nitride
  • photoluminescence

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