Indium Gallium Nitride (InGaN) Semiconductors

Topics Covered

Description
Applications
Chemical Properties
Electrical Properties
Mechanical and Optical Properties
Recent Development

Description

Indium gallium nitride is a semiconductor material made of a mixture of indium nitride and gallium nitride. It is a ternary group III/group V direct bandgap semiconductor whose bandgap can be tuned by adjusting the amount of indium in the alloy.

Quantum heterostructures of indium gallium nitride are often developed from GaN with InGaN active layers, as InGaN can be combined with other materials such as AlGaN, GaN on SiC, sapphire and silicon. Although the toxicology of InGaN has not been thoroughly investigated, its dust particles are irritants to lungs, eyes and skin.

Applications

Indium gallium nitride finds applications in the following:

  • Solar photovoltaic devices
  • Quantum wells
  • Modern blue and green LEDs.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of indium gallium nitride are provided in the table below:

Chemical Properties
Chemical Formula InGaN
CAS No. 7440-74-6
Group Indium – 13
Gallium – 13
Nitrogen - 15
Lattice Constant 4.360 Å

Electrical Properties

The electrical properties of indium gallium nitride are provided in the table below:

Electrical Properties
Electrical Resistivity (@675°C) 7.81 X 10-3 Ω cm
Electron Density 3.27 X 1019 cm-3
Intrinsic Carrier Concentration 1018 cm-3
Band Gap 2.5 eV
Hall Mobility 47.3 cm2/Vs

Mechanical and Optical Properties

The mechanical and optical properties of indium gallium nitride are provided in the tables below:

Mechanical Properties
Modulus of Elasticity 57.9 GPa
Shear Modulus 6.46 GPa
Optical Properties
Refractive Index 2.59

Recent Development

Advanced, blue indium gallium nitride light emitting diodes are now used as a replacement for existing infrastructure in general illumination. Further advancements in technology will lead to reexamination of the modes for incorporating this material technology into lighting modules that control distribution, conversion and extraction of light by reducing adverse thermal effects associated with operation.

Kim et al (2011) presented the methods of anisotropic etching, module configuration and microscale device assembly/integration to overcome these challenges in unconventional ways. The demonstrations proved that small, distributed LEDs can be passively cooled by direct thermal transport through thin-film metallization thereby providing an enhanced and scalable means to integrate these devices in modules for white light generation.

Indium gallium nitride offers great potential in the development of high-efficiency multi-junction photovoltaic devices owing to its strong absorption and other optoelectronic properties and wide range of band gaps.

McLaughlin D (2011) examined the properties of indium gallium nitride thin films using a variety of characterization techniques. These films were grown in a nanocolumnar microstructure under specific deposition conditions.

It was found that these films have very strong absorption coefficients with band gaps indirectly related to indium content. However, they suffered compositional inhomogeneity and in- related defect complexes with strong phonon coupling that influences the emission mechanism. Therefore, this research proved that indium gallium nitride alloy is suitable for multi-junction solar cell applications.

 

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