Dynamic coupling of piezoelectric effects, spontaneous polarization, and strain in lattice-mismatched semiconductor quantum-well heterostructures

Willatzen, M., Lassen, B., Lew Yan Voon, L.C. and Melnik, R.V.N.

Journal of Applied Physics, 100 (2), Art. No. 024302, 2006


A static and dynamic analysis of the combined and self-consistent influence of spontaneous polarization, piezoelectric effects, lattice mismatch, and strain effects is presented for a three-layer one-dimensional AlN/GaN wurtzite quantum-well structure (with GaN as the central quantum-well layer). It is shown that, contrary to the assumption of Fonoberov and Balandin [J. Appl. Phys. 94, 7178 (2003); J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 22, 2190 (2004)], even in cases with no current transport through the structure, the strain distributions are not well captured by minimization of the strain energy only and not, as is in principle required, the total free energy including electric and piezoelectric coupling and spontaneous polarization contributions. Furthermore, we have found that, when an ac signal is imposed through the structure, resonance frequencies exist where strain distributions are even more strongly affected by piezoelectric-coupling contributions depending on the amount of mechanical and electrical losses in the full material system.