Band Alignments of Ternary Wurtzite and Zincblende III-Nitrides Investigated by Hybrid Density Functional Theory

Yi Chia Tsai, Can Bayram

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Band gaps and electron affinities of binary and ternary, wurtzite (wz-) and zincblende (zb-) III-nitrides are investigated using a unified hybrid density functional theory, and band offsets between wz- and zb- alloys are calculated using Anderson's electron affinity model. A conduction (and valence) band offset of 1.85 (0.89) eV has been calculated for zb-GaN/InN heterojunctions, which is 0.25 eV larger (and 0.26 eV smaller) than that of the wz- counterpart. Such polarization-free zb-GaN/InGaN/GaN quantum well structures with large conduction band offsets have the potential to suppress electron leakage current and quantum-confined Stark effects (QCSEs). Contrarily, the conduction (and valence) band offset of zb-AlN/GaN heterojunctions is calculated to be 1.32 (0.43) eV, which is 1.15 eV smaller (and 0.13 eV larger) than that of the wz- case. The significant reduction in zb-AlN/GaN band offsets is ascribed to the smaller and indirect band gap of zb-AlN - the direct-to-indirect crossover point in zb-AlXGa1-XN is when X ∼65%. The small band gap of the zb-AlN barrier and the small conduction band offsets imply that electrons can be injected into zb-AlN/GaN/AlN quantum well heterostructures with small bias and less energy loss when captured by the quantum wells, respectively, i.e., loss as heat is reduced. The band gap of ternary III-nitrides does not linearly depend on alloy compositions, implying a nonlinear dependence of band offsets on compositions. As a result, the large bowing of the conduction band offset is identified and ascribed to the cation-like behavior of the conduction band minimum, while the linear dependence of the valence band offset on compositions is attributed to the anion-like character of the valence band maximum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3917-3923
Number of pages7
JournalACS Omega
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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