It is well known that hydrogen plays a key role in p-type doping of GaN. It is believed that H passivates substitutional Mg during growth by forming a Mgs-N-Hi complex; in subsequent annealing, H is removed, resulting in p-type doping. Several open questions have remained, however, such as experimental evidence for other complexes involving Mg and H and difficulties in accounting for the relatively high-temperature anneal needed to remove H. We present first principles calculations in terms of which we show that the doping process is in fact significantly more complex. In particular, interstitial Mg plays a major role in limiting p-type doping. Overall, several substitutional/interstitial complexes form and can bind H, with vibrational frequencies that account for hitherto unidentified observed lines. We predict that these defects, which limit doping efficiency, can be eliminated by annealing in an atmosphere of H and N prior to the final anneal that removes H.
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Reboredo, F.A., Pantelides, S.T. Defect Complexes and Non-Equilibrium Processes Underlying the P-Type Doping of GaN. MRS Online Proceedings Library 537, 53 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-537-G5.3