Self-trapped Holes in β-Ga2O3 Crystals

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We have experimentally observed self-trapped holes (STHs) in a β-Ga2O3 crystal using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). These STHs are an intrinsic defect in this wide-band-gap semiconductor and may serve as a significant deterrent to producing usable p-type material. In our study, an as-grown undoped n-type β-Ga2O3 crystal was initially irradiated near room temperature with high-energy neutrons. This produced gallium vacancies (acceptors) and lowered the Fermi level. The STHs (i.e., small polarons) were then formed during a subsequent irradiation at 77 K with x rays. Warming the crystal above 90 K destroyed the STHs. This low thermal stability is a strong indicator that the STH is the correct assignment for these new defects. The S = 1/2 EPR spectrum from the STHs is easily observed near 30 K. A holelike angular dependence of the g matrix (the principal values are 2.0026, 2.0072, and 2.0461) suggests that the defect's unpaired spin is localized on one oxygen ion in a nonbonding p orbital aligned near the a direction in the crystal. The EPR spectrum also has resolved hyperfine structure due to equal and nearly isotropic interactions with 69,71Ga nuclei at two neighboring Ga sites. With the magnetic field along the a direction, the hyperfine parameters are 0.92 mT for the 69Ga nuclei and 1.16 mT for the 71Ga nuclei.


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Plain-text title form: Self-trapped holes in β-Ga2O3 crystals.

Funding note: This work was partially supported by the GHz-THz Electronics portfolio of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

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Journal of Applied Physics