Isotopic labeling experiments have revealed correlations between hydrogen reactions, Ga desorption, and ammonia decomposition in GaN CVD. Low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and temperature programmed desorption (TPD) were used to demonstrate that hydrogen atoms are available on the surface for reaction after exposing GaN(0001) to deuterium at elevated temperatures. Hydrogen reactions also lowered the temperature for Ga desorption significantly. Ammonia did not decompose on the surface before hydrogen exposure. However, after hydrogen reactions altered the surface, N15H3 did undergo both reversible and irreversible decomposition. This also resulted in the desorption of N2 of mixed isotopes below the onset of GaN sublimation. This suggests that the driving force of the high nitrogen-nitrogen bond strength (226 kcal/mol) can lead to the removal of nitrogen from the substrate when the surface is nitrogen rich. Overall, these findings indicate that hydrogen can influence GaN CVD significantly, being a common factor in the reactivity of the surface, the desorption of Ga, and the decomposition of ammonia.
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Bartram, E., Creighton, J.R. GaN CVD Reactions: Hydrogen and Ammonia Decomposition and the Desorption of Gallium Michael. MRS Online Proceedings Library 537, 368 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-537-G3.68