Both β-Ga2O3 and wurtzite AlN have wide bandgaps of 4.5–4.9 and 6.1 eV, respectively. We calculated the in-plane lattice mismatch between the (−201) plane of β-Ga2O3 and the (0002) plane of AlN, which was found to be 2.4%. This is the smallest mismatch between β-Ga2O3 and binary III-nitrides which is beneficial for the formation of a high quality β-Ga2O3/AlN heterojunction. However, the valence and conduction band offsets (VBO and CBO) at the β-Ga2O3/AlN heterojunction have not yet been identified. In this study, a very thin (less than 2 nm) β-Ga2O3 layer was deposited on an AlN/sapphire template to form the heterojunction by pulsed laser deposition. High-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed the core-level (CL) binding energies of Ga 3d and Al 2p with respect to the valence band maximum in individual β-Ga2O3 and AlN layers, respectively. The separation between Ga 3d and Al 2p CLs at the β-Ga2O3/AlN interface was also measured. Eventually, the VBO was found to be −0.55 ± 0.05 eV. Consequently, a staggered-gap (type II) heterojunction with a CBO of −1.75 ± 0.05 eV was determined. The identification of the band alignment of the β-Ga2O3/AlN heterojunction could facilitate the design of optical and electronic devices based on these and related alloys.
The spontaneous polarization (SP) and piezoelectric (PZ) constants of BxAl1-xN and BxGa1-xN (0 ≤ x ≤ 1) ternary alloys were calculated with the hexagonal structure as reference. The SP constants show moderate nonlinearity due to the volume deformation and the dipole moment difference between the hexagonal and wurtzite structures. The PZ constants exhibit significant bowing because of the large lattice difference between binary alloys. Furthermore, the PZ constants of BxAl1-xN and BxGa1-xN become zero at boron compositions of ∼87% and ∼74%, respectively, indicating non-piezoelectricity. The large range of SP and PZ constants of BxAl1-xN (BAlN) and BxGa1-xN (BGaN) can be beneficial for the compound semiconductor device development. For instance, zero heterointerface polarization ΔP can be formed for BAlN and BGaN based heterojunctions with proper B compositions, potentially eliminating the quantum-confined Stark effect for c-plane optical devices and thus removing the need of non-polar layers and substrates. Besides, large heterointerface polarization ΔP is available that is desirable for electronic devices.
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