Electronic structure calculations on nitride semiconductors and their alloys
Calculations of the electronic properties of AIN, GaN, InN and their alloys are presented. Initial calculations are performed using the first principles pseudopotenial method to obtain accurate lattice constants. Further calculations then investigate bonding in the nitrides through population analysis and density of state calculations, the empirical pseudopotential method is also used in this work. Pseudopotentials 'or each of the nitrides are constructed using a functional form that allows strained material and alloys to be studied. The conventional k,p valence band parameters for both zincblende and wurtzite are obtained from the empirical band structure using two different methods. A Monte-Carlo fitting of the k.p band structure to the pseudopotential data (or an effective mass method for the zincblende structure) is used to produce one set. Another set is obtained directly from the momentum matrix elements and energy eigenvalues at the centre of the Brillouin zone. Both methods of calculating k.p parameters produce band structure in excellent agreement with the original empirical band calculations near the centre of the Brillouin zone. The advantage of the direct method is that it produces consistent sets of parameters, and can be used in studies involving a series of alloy compositions. Further empirical pseudopotential method calculations are then performed for alloys of the nitrides. In particular, the variation of the band gap with alloy composition is investigated, and good agreement with theory and experiment is found. The direct method is used to obtain k.p parameters for the alloys, and is contrasted with the fitting approach. The behaviour of the nitrides under strain is also studied. In particular, valence band offsets for nitride heterojunctions are calculated, and a strong forward-backward asymmetry in the band offset is found, in good agreement with other results in the literature.