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Optical studies on the red luminescence of InGaN epilayers

Correia, M.R. and Pereira, S.M.D.S. and Ferreira Pereira Lopes, E.M. and Ferreira, R.A.S. and Frandon, J. and Alves, E. and Watson, I.M. and Liu, C. and Morel, A. and Gil, B. (2004) Optical studies on the red luminescence of InGaN epilayers. Superlattices and Microstructures, 36 (4-6). pp. 625-632.

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Photoluminescence, photoluminescence excitation and time-resolved photoluminescence studies were performed in a partially relaxed InGaN epilayer, and exhibiting a 3D growth mode at the surface. Two emission bands, a red (centred at ∼1.88 eV) and a blue (centred at ∼2.58 eV) were observed. In order to investigate their origin and their relation with the strain relaxation along the growth direction, the sample was etched. After etching, only an asymmetrical broad emission band centred at ∼2.15 eV was observed. The decrease of decay time and the increase of the band edge absorption energy with increasing monitored photon energy, along the red emission, are assigned to the effect of localization of excitons at potential minima, originated in compositional and strain inhomogeneities of the sample. Therefore, the blue shift observed on this band with an increase in temperature, is caused by the population of higher energy states. The large difference between the luminescence intensities, decay times and the thermal quenching of the red and blue (centred at ∼2.58 eV) band is also accounted for by the localization model. It is demonstrated that the luminescence observed after etching is a superposition of two bands, one originated from the InGaN film, and the other from the GaN underlayer. The large difference between absorption and emission energies, compared with those measured in the as-grown sample, within the same spectral region, indicates that this emission has a different origin. It is suggested that deep levels might be responsible for the luminescence observed after etching.