GaN quantum dots (QDs) grown in semipolar (112¯2) AlN by plasma-assisted molecular-beam epitaxy were studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques. The embedded (112¯2)-grown QDs exhibited pyramidal or truncated-pyramidal morphology consistent with the symmetry of the nucleating plane, and were delimited by nonpolar and semipolar nanofacets. It was also found that, in addition to the (112¯2) surface, QDs nucleated at depressions comprising {101¯1} facets. This was justified by ab initio density functional theory calculations showing that such GaN/AlN facets are of lower energy compared to (112¯2). Based on quantitative high-resolution TEM strain measurements, the three-dimensional QD strain state was analyzed using finite-element simulations. The internal electrostatic field was then estimated, showing small potential drop along the growth direction, and limited localization at most QD interfaces.

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