Zirconium diboride (ZrB2) is a promising lattice-matched substrate for GaN-based materials. A key issue to realize high-quality heteroepitaxial growth is preparation of the substrate surface. The ZrB2 surface was studied by x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) and reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED). XPS results indicated the presence of both ZrO2 and ZrB2 on the as-received substrate surface. Thermal cleaning at 1000°C in ultra-high vacuum, Ar+ ion sputtering, and wet chemical treatments were examined as surface preparation methods. After treatment with HF acid, the O peak intensity was much reduced. The combination of HF treatment and thermal cleaning resulted in sharp and intense RHEED from the ZrB2 surface. GaN grown on the surface by molecular-beam epitaxy exhibited intense photoluminescence, suggesting that this treatment is effective to obtain high-quality GaN on ZrB2 substrates.
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The authors thank Dr. S. Otani at the National Institute for Material Science (NIMS) and Mr. H. Kinoshita for valuable discussions. The substrates used in this study were provided by KYOCERA Corporation, Japan. This work is partly supported by the Kyoto Nano-tech cluster project, the Ministry of Education of Japan, and the Kyoto University Venture Business Laboratory project.
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Suda, J., Yamashita, H., Armitage, R. et al. Surface Control of ZrB2 (0001) Substrate for Molecular-Beam Epitaxy of GaN. MRS Online Proceedings Library 798, 209–214 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-798-Y10.65