Study of luminescence from GaN: Tb3+ Powders and thin films deposited by MOVPE and PLD methods

Jonathan H. Tao, Joseph Laski, Nestor Perea-Lopez, Steven Shimizu, Joanna McKittrick, Jan B. Talbot, K. C. Mishra, David W. Hamby, Madis Raukas, Keith Klinedinst, Gustavo Hirata

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Due to the recent commercial interest in nitride-based optoelectronics and rare-earth emission in nitride materials, the structural and optical characteristics of GaN: Tb3+ powders and thin films have been investigated in this work. The powder samples were made using a three-step solution method. Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and metallorganic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) methods were utilized for depositing GaN: Tb3+ films on sapphire substrates. The GaN powders with activator concentrations up to 8 atom % exhibited Tb3+ luminescence due to the D 3,4 5 → Fj7 transitions under cathodoluminescence (CL) as well as under 243 nm photon excitation. Both near-band-edge emission and activator emission have been observed in PLD thin films made from the corresponding GaN: Tb3+ powders. X-ray diffraction revealed polycrystalline PLD thin films with a preferred growth direction along the c axis, while scanning electron micrographs showed rough film morphology with submicrometer particles. CL emission from Tb3+ accompanied by near-band-edge emission and defect emissions from the GaN host was observed for the MOVPE films made using tris(2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-3,5- heptanedionato)terbium but not films made with tris(isopropylcyclopentadienyl) terbium. Despite visible luminescence from Tb3+ in GaN powders and thin films, no energy transfer from the host to activator ions was observed. This suggests that Tb3+ is unlikely to fluoresce if used in a GaN-based optoelectronic device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)J158-J163
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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