The characteristics of V-defects in quaternary AlInGaN epilayers and their correlation with fluctuations of the In distribution are investigated. The geometric size of the V-defects is found to depend on the In composition of the alloy. The V-defects are nucleated within the AlInGaN layer and associated with threading dislocations. Line scan cathodoluminescence (CL) shows a redshift of the emission peak and an increase of the half width of the CL spectra as the electron beam approaches the apex of the V-defect. The total redshift decreases with decreasing In mole fraction in the alloy samples. Although the strain reduction may partially contribute to the CL redshift, indium segregation is suggested to be responsible for the V-defect formation and has a main influence on the respective optical properties.

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