AlGaN-based heterostructures are promising candidates for the fabrication of ultraviolet light-emitting diodes. The analysis of the atomic composition of the grown epitaxial films is important from a technological point of view, allowing precise control over the wavelength and intensity of the emitted light. In this work, the depth profiling of AlN(0001), AlGaN(0001), and AlGaN quantum dot surfaces grown by molecular beam epitaxy was carried out by using angle-resolved x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) combined with Ar gas cluster ion source (GCIS) sputtering. Core level shifts in XPS spectra measured by Al Kα and Ag Lα photon sources were determined. We found that sputtering by Ar1000+ ion clusters with an energy of 10 keV creates disorder on the surface and induces changes in surface atomic composition. As a result, depth profiling with a typical surface-sensitive Al Kα photon source is affected by the damaged layer. The application of a less surface-sensitive Ag Lα photon source with high photon energy could suppress the contribution from the damaged surface layer. Combining GCIS sputtering with Ag Lα line XPS measurements is, therefore, very promising for the quantification of atomic composition in the buried epitaxial layers or heterostructures with thicknesses of several tens of nm.
Depth profiling of AlN and AlxGa1−xN crystals by XPS using Al Kα and Ag Lα line excitation and Ar ion gas cluster ion source
O. Romanyuk, J. Brault, I. Gordeev, E. Ukraintsev, J. Houdková, P. Jiříček; Depth profiling of AlN and AlxGa1−xN crystals by XPS using Al Kα and Ag Lα line excitation and Ar ion gas cluster ion source. J. Appl. Phys. 21 January 2023; 133 (3): 035301. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0125938
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