The optical properties of AlyGa1-yN quantum dots (QDs), with y = 0 or y = 0.1, in an AlxGa1−xN matrix are studied. The influence of the QD layer design is investigated pointing out the correlations between the QD structural and optical properties. In a first part, the role of the epitaxial strain in the dot self-assembling process is studied by fabricating GaN QD layers on different AlxGa1−xN layers with 0.5 ≤ x ≤ 0.7. Photoluminescence (PL) measurements show the main influence of the increase of the internal electric field (Fint) on the QD optical response inducing a strong red shift in the emission energy as x increases. Time resolved combined with temperature dependent PL measurements enabled the estimation of the QD internal quantum efficiencies at low temperature showing values around 50%. In addition, a PL integrated intensity ratio up to 74% is shown, between 300 and 9 K. In the second part, the design of Al0.1Ga0.9N QDs was investigated, by varying the Al0.1Ga0.9N amount deposited. An increase of the transition energy (from 3.65 eV up to 3.83 eV) is obtained while decreasing the deposited amount. Calculations of the ground state transition energies as a function of the Al0.1Ga0.9N dot height give a value of Fint around 2.0 ± 0.5 MV/cm. Therefore, the propensity of Al0.1Ga0.9N dots to emit at much higher energies than GaN dots (a PL shift of ∼1 eV using a low excitation power) is seen as the consequence of the reduced Fint together with their smaller sizes.

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