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Mechanism for spontaneous growth of GaN nanowires with molecular beam epitaxy



Kristine A. Bertness, Alexana Roshko, Lorelle Mansfield, Todd E. Harvey, Norman A. Sanford


Although most semiconductor nanowires are grown via the vapor-liquid-solid mechanism, we present evidence that GaN nanowires form because of thermodynamically driven variations in surface sticking coefficients on different crystallographic planes under certain conditions in molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Specifically, the wires nucleate spontaneously and then propagate because the sticking coefficient on the (0001) c-plane is higher than on the m-plane {1100} under conditions of high temperature (810-830°C) and high N2 overpressure. Elemental Ga droplets are unstable under these growth conditions and therefore cannot act as catalytic sites for nanowire growth. This conclusion is based on differences in morphology and growth conditions for GaN nanowires grown with and without catalysts, whether the catalysts are extrinsic metals or Ga droplets. The spontaneous MBE growth of GaN nanowires is therefore shown to be distinct in mechanism from that of the growth of most semiconductor nanowires.
Journal of Crystal Growth


GaN, growth mechanism, molecular beam epitaxy, nanowires


Bertness, K. , Roshko, A. , Mansfield, L. , Harvey, T. and Sanford, N. (2008), Mechanism for spontaneous growth of GaN nanowires with molecular beam epitaxy, Journal of Crystal Growth, [online], (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created April 1, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017