The field evaporation behavior of c-axis GaN nanowires was explored in two different laser-pulsed atom probe tomography (APT) instruments. Transmission electron microscopy imaging before and after atom probe tomography analysis was used to assist in reconstructing the data and assess the observed evaporation behavior. It was found that the ionic species exhibited preferential locations for evaporation related to the underlying crystal structure of the GaN and that the species which evaporated from these locations was dependent on the pulsed laser energy. Additionally, the overall stoichiometry measured by APT was significantly correlated with the energy of the laser pulses. At the lowest laser energies, the apparent composition was nitrogen-rich, while higher laser energies resulted in measurements of predominantly gallium compositions. The percent of ions detected (detection efficiency) for these specimens was found to be considerably below that shown for other materials, even for laser energies which produced the expected Ga:N ratio. The apparent stoichiometry variation and low detection efficiency appear to be a result of evaporation of Ga ions between laser pulses at the lowest laser energies and evaporation of neutral N2 species at higher laser energies. All of these behaviors are tied to the formation of nitrogen-nitrogen bonds on the tip surface, which occurred under all analysis conditions. Similar field evaporation behaviors are therefore expected for other materials where the anionic species readily form a strong diatomic bond.
Citation: Applied Physics
Pub Type: Journals
atom prob tomography, evaporation behavior, nanowires