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Measurement of threading dislocation densities in GaN by wet chemical etching
We demonstrate a technique based on wet chemical etching that enables quick and accurate evaluation of edge- and screw/mixed-type threading dislocations (TDs) in GaN. Large and small etch pits are formed by phosphoric acid on the etched surfaces. The large etch pits are attributed to screw/mixed TDs and the small ones to edge TDs, according to their locations on the surface and Burgers vectors of TDs. Additionally, the origin of small etch pits is confirmed by a transmission electron microscopy. The difference in the size of etch pits is discussed in view of their origin and merging. Overetching at elevated temperatures or for a long time may result in merging of individual etch pits and underestimating of the density of TDs. Wet chemical etching has also been proved efficient in revealing the distribution of TDs in epitaxial lateral overgrowth GaN.