Near-field cathodoluminescence (NFCL) has been used to characterize hydride vapor phase epitaxy grown n-GaN films. This technique can obtain high resolution luminescence images and perform local measurements of the diffusion length for minority carriers in different parts of the sample. NFCL contrast observed in round growth hillocks at the sample surface, with a diameter of less than 10 μm, is compared with that observed by conventional cathodoluminescence in scanning electron microscope (CLSEM) techniques. In particular NFCL images reveal features not detected by CLSEM which is explained by the fact that under near field conditions the signal arises from a depth of only several tens of nanometers and is then directly related to the surface hillocks. Diffusion lengths of about 0.4 and 4 μm have been found for the holes in different regions of the samples at room temperature. The order of magnitude of these minority carriers diffusion lengths is in good agreement with previous measurements performed at different GaN samples with other techniques. The NFCL contrast and the differences in the measured diffusion lengths are discussed and explained by variations in local trap concentrations.

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