A systematic study of intersecting planar boundary structures observed in a GaN epifilm grown on a vicinal 6H-SiC substrate (offcut towards [12¯10]) with an AlN buffer is presented. These structures are shown to comprise stacking faults that fold back and forth from the basal plane [I1 basal plane stacking faults (BSFs)] to the prismatic plane [prismatic stacking faults (PSFs)]. The PSFs, with fault vector 12101¯1 nucleate at steps on the substrate surface as a consequence of the different stacking sequences exposed on either side of the step. Once nucleated, PSFs intersecting the vertical step risers in the AlN buffer and eventually in the GaN film are replicated during the predominantly step-flow growth and propagate into the growing crystal. As a consequence of the different growth rates experienced on either side of the intersection of a PSF with a vertical step riser, the PSF may be redirected onto an equivalent {112¯0} plane, leaving an I1 BSF between the bottom of the redirected section of PSF and the top of that portion of the original PSF which was below the terrace. This leads to the formation of folded PSF/BSF fault structures which exhibit various configurations. Such folded stacking fault configurations form walls which enclose domains of different stacking sequence. Stair-rod dislocations (SRDs) are observed to form at the intersections of these various faults and the Burgers vectors of some of these are discussed. In some cases, reconstruction of these SRDs occurs through the formation of partner dislocations which serve to minimize the energy associated with the lattice disconnections located at the cores of the SRDs.

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