Algan, Cathodoluminescence, Diffusion length, EBIC, Electron injection, GaN, Mg doped, Photodetector, Photovoltaic, Schottky contact


This research investigated the effect of electron injection in III-Nitrides. The combination of electron beam induced current and cathodoluminescence measurements was used to understand the impact of electron injection on the minority carrier transport and optical properties. In addition, the application of the electron injection effect in optoelectronic devices was investigated. The impact of electron injection on the minority carrier diffusion length was studied at various temperatures in Mg-doped p-GaN, p-Al[subscript x]Ga[subscript 1-x]N, and p-Al[subscript x]Ga[subscript 1-x] N/GaN superlattices. It was found that Lsubscript n] experienced a multi-fold linear increase and that the rate of change of L[subscript n] decreased exponentially with increasing temperature. The effect was attributed to a temperature-activated release of the electrons, which were trapped by the Mg levels. The activation energies, E[subscript a], for the electron injection effect in the Mg-doped (Al)GaN samples were found to range from 178 to 267 meV, which is close to the thermal ionization energy of the Mg acceptor. The E[subscript a] observed for Al[subscript 0.15]Ga[subscript 0.85]N and Al[subscript 0.2]Ga[subscript 0.8]N was consistent with the deepening of the Mg acceptor level due to the incorporation of Al into the GaN lattice. The E[subscript a] in the homogeneously doped Al[subscript 0.2]Ga[subscript 0.8]N/GaN superlattice indicates that the main contribution to the electron injection effect comes from the capture of injected electrons by the wells (GaN). The electron injection effect was successfully applied to GaN doped with an impurity (Mn) other than Mg. Electron injection into Mn-doped GaN resulted in a multi-fold increase of the L[subscript n] and a pronounced decrease in the band-to-band cathodoluminescence intensity. The E[subscript a] due to the electron injection effect was estimated from temperature-dependent cathodoluminescence measurements to be 360 meV. The decrease in the band-to-band cathodoluminescence is consistent with an increase in L[subscript n] and these results are attributed to an increase in the minority carrier lifetime due to the trapping of injected electrons by the Mn levels. A forward bias was applied to inject electrons into commercially built p-i-n and Schottky barrier photodetectors. Up to an order of magnitude increase in the peak (360 nm) responsivity was observed. The enhanced photoresponse lasted for over four weeks and was attributed to an electron injection-induced increase of L[subscript n] and the lifetime.


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Graduation Date





Chernyak, Leonid


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Arts and Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

August 2004

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences

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Physics Commons