Oxidation of GaN: An ab initio thermodynamic approach

Adam Jackson, A Walsh

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GaN is a wide-band-gap semiconductor used in high-efficiency light-emitting diodes and solar cells. The solid is produced industrially at high chemical purities by deposition from a vapor phase, and oxygen may be included at this stage. Oxidation represents a potential path for tuning its properties without introducing more exotic elements or extreme processing conditions. In this work, ab initio computational methods are used to examine the energy potentials and electronic properties of different extents of oxidation in GaN. Solid-state vibrational properties of Ga, GaN, Ga2O3, and a single substitutional oxygen defect have been studied using the harmonic approximation with supercells. A thermodynamic model is outlined which combines the results of ab initio calculations with data from experimental literature. This model allows free energies to be predicted for arbitrary reaction conditions within a wide process envelope. It is shown that complete oxidation is favorable for all industrially relevant conditions, while the formation of defects can be opposed by the use of high temperatures and a high N2:O2 ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165201
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number16
Early online date11 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • GaN
  • gallium nitride
  • ab initio calculations
  • density functional theory
  • thermodynamics
  • modelling


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