The strain in GaN epitaxial layers grown on silicon (111) substrates by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy has been investigated. The insertion of AlN/GaN superlattices was found to decrease the stress sufficiently for avoiding crack formation in an overgrown thick (2.5 μm) GaN layer. X-ray diffraction and photoluminescence measurements are used to determine the effect of these AlN/GaN superlattices on the strain in the subsequent GaN layers. A reduction of threading dislocation density is also observed by transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy when such superlattices are used. Strong band edge photoluminescence of GaN on Si(111) was observed with a full width at half maximum of the bound exciton line as low as 6 meV at 10 K. The 500 arcsec linewidth on the (002) x-ray rocking curve also attests the high crystalline quality of GaN on Si (111), when using these AlN/GaN superlattices.

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