Microstructural Analysis and Engineering of III-Nitride-Based Heterostructures for Optoelectronic Devices

  • Martin Velazquez-Rizo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


After the invention of the high-efficiency blue light-emitting diode (LED) at the end of the twentieth century, a new generation of light-emitting devices based on III-nitrides emerged, showcasing the capabilities of this semiconductor family. Despite the current limitations in the fabrication of III-nitrides, their optical and electronic properties still place them as some of the most promising semiconductors to continue the development of optoelectronic devices. To take full advantage of the versatility offered by these materials, the fabrication of novel III-nitride-based devices demands rigorous control of all of its stages. From the initial deposition of the materials, which involves controlling the composition and size of often complex heterostructures, up to the microfabrication processing used to create a final device, any deficiency occurring will negatively impact the performance of the device. Most of the time, these deficiencies reflect in microscopic defects, hindering their detection and identification of their origin. Without such knowledge, the deficiencies cannot be fixed, stalling the improvement of the device fabrication process and, consequently, its performance. This dissertation presents a variety of methodological approaches to characterize, from a microstructural point of view, different properties of novel III-nitride-based heterostructures and devices. The characterizations include studying the structure, interface, composition, and crystalline defects of different heterostructures and evaluating the microfabrication quality of microscopic LEDs. The results of the different characterizations contributed to developing novel LED and photocatalytic devices, for example, a single-quantum-well InGaN-based red LED with a high color purity, a monolithic phosphor-free white LED, microscopic green LEDs with a size smaller than 5×5 μm$^2$, and metal oxide/GaN-based photocatalysts with improved resilience to photocorrosion. The analyses and results presented in this dissertation strongly relied on the analytical capabilities offered by transmission electron microscopy, which proved to be a convenient and versatile tool for the characterization of many aspects related to the fabrication of III-nitride-based optoelectronic devices.
Date of AwardNov 2022
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorKazuhiro Ohkawa (Supervisor)


  • Microstructural Analysis
  • III-Nitrides
  • LEDs
  • Photocatalysts

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