AlxGa1−xN alloys were grown on c-plane sapphire by plasma-induced molecular beam epitaxy. The Al content x was varied over the whole composition range (0⩽x⩽1). The molar Al fraction was deduced from x-ray diffraction and for comparison by elastic recoil detection analysis. The composition of the alloys calculated from the lattice parameter c underestimates x. This is due to a deformation of the unit cell. The exact Al mole fraction and the biaxial strain of the alloys can be calculated by an additional determination of a, using asymmetric reflections. The results obtained by x-ray diffraction and elastic recoil detection provide evidence for the validity of Vegard’s law in the AlGaN system. In addition, the deviation of the band gap from a linear dependence on x was investigated. We found a downward bowing with a bowing parameter b=1.3 eV.

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