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Mutual passivation of electrically active and isovalent impurities


The alloy GaNx As1−x (with x typically less than 0.05) is a novel semiconductor that has many interesting electronic properties because of the nitrogen-induced dramatic modifications of the conduction band structure of the host material (GaAs). Here we demonstrate the existence of an entirely new effect in the GaNx As1−x alloy system in which the Si donor in the substitututional Ga site (SiGa) and the isovalent atom N in the As sublattice (NAs) passivate each other's electronic activity. This mutual passivation occurs in Si-doped GaNx As1−x through the formation of nearest-neighbour SiGa –NAs pairs and is thermally stable up to 950 °C. Consequently, Si doping in GaNx As1−x under equilibrium conditions results in a highly resistive GaNx As1−x layer with the fundamental bandgap governed by a net 'active' N, roughly equal to the total N content minus the Si concentration. Such mutual passivation is expected to be a general phenomenon for electrically active dopants and localized state impurities that can form nearest-neighbour pairs.

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Figure 1: Energy gap of GaNx As1−x alloys as a function of N content.
Figure 2: Resistivities and electron concentrations of Si-doped GaAs and GaN0.015 As0.985 thin films.
Figure 3: Bandgap energies.
Figure 4: Photoluminescence spectra from GaN0.015 As0.95 thin films doped with 1.6 × 1019 cm−3 Si atoms.
Figure 5: Photomodulated reflectance spectra from Si-doped and undoped GaNx As1−x samples.


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We thank M. R. Pillai and M. J. Aziz for their assistance in laser annealing, and J. Beeman for ion implantation. This work was supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098. M.A.S. acknowledges support from a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

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Yu, K., Walukiewicz, W., Wu, J. et al. Mutual passivation of electrically active and isovalent impurities. Nature Mater 1, 185–189 (2002).

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