Unintentional impurity incorporation in GaN drift layers represents a challenging issue that can limit their potential performance in vertical power devices. In this paper, we focus on studying the origins of Fe impurity incorporation in metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) grown GaN materials. Acting as a compensator in n-type GaN drift layers, Fe impurities can reduce the electron mobility in GaN and limit the lowest controllable doping level. Two sources, the sample cleaning process and growth susceptor, were identified as the main mechanisms of Fe incorporation in the MOCVD GaN growth process. It was found that solvent cleaning of the wafer can introduce significant Fe contamination at the growth interface, which would slowly be incorporated into the GaN epilayer, thus causing background Fe impurity as high as 1017 cm−3 level. Moreover, the Fe impurity in the coating material on the susceptor can introduce additional Fe impurity during the growth process. Our studies revealed that the Fe impurity level could be significantly suppressed by more than two orders when an alternative cleaning process was used and the susceptor surface was fully covered by substrates. Characterization of the Fe impurity concentrations was performed via secondary ion mass spectrometry. The trap level (EC − 0.57) eV from deep-level transient spectroscopy that had previously been attributed to Fe confirmed the carrier compensation effect from Fe. Room temperature Hall mobility as high as 1007 cm2/V s was achieved on the MOCVD grown low-Fe GaN. Results from this work will provide guidance for achieving high purity GaN toward high performance GaN vertical power devices.

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