Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Brian D. Thoms - Chair

Second Advisor

Nikolaus Dietz

Third Advisor

Vadyam M. Apalkov

Fourth Advisor

Carl Rod Nave

Fifth Advisor

Douglas R. Gies


Surface structure, chemical composition, bonding configuration, film polarity, and electronic properties of InN layers grown by high pressure chemical vapor deposition (HPCVD) have been investigated. Sputtering at an angle of 50-70 degrees followed by atomic hydrogen cleaning (AHC) was successful in removing the carbon contaminants. AHC is found to be the most effective cleaning process to remove oxygen contaminants from InN layers in an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) system and produced a well ordered surface. Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) confirmed the cleanliness of the surface, and low energy electron diffraction (LEED) yielded a 1×1 hexagonal pattern demonstrating a well-ordered surface. High resolution electron energy loss spectra (HREELS) taken from the InN layers exhibited loss features at 550 cm-1, 870 cm-1 and 3260 cm-1 which were assigned to Fuchs-Kliewer phonon, N-H bending, and N-H stretching vibrations, respectively. Assignments were confirmed by observation of isotopic shifts following atomic deuterium dosing. No In-H species were observed indicating N-termination of the surface and N-polarity of the film. Broad conduction band plasmon excitations were observed centered at 3100 cm-1 to 4200 cm-1 in HREEL spectra acquired with 25 eV electrons, for a variety of samples grown with different conditions. Infrared reflectance data shows a consistent result with HREELS for the bulk plasma frequency. The plasmon excitations are shifted about 300 cm-1 higher in HREEL spectra acquired using 7 eV electrons due to the higher plasma frequency and carrier concentration at the surface than in the bulk, demonstrating a surface electron accumulation. Hydrogen completely desorbed from the InN surface upon annealing for 900 s at 425 ºC or upon annealing for 30 s at 500 ºC. Fitting the coverage versus temperature for anneals of either 30 or 900 s indicated that the desorption was best described by second order desorption kinetics with an activation energy and pre-exponential factor of 1.3±0.2 eV and 10-7.3±1.0 cm2/s, respectively. Vibrational spectra acquired from HREEL can be utilized to explain the surface composition, chemical bonding and surface termination, and film polarity of InN layers. The explanation of evidence of surface electron accumulation and extraction of hydrogen desorption kinetic parameters can be performed by utilizing HREEL spectra.