Bias-Controlled Optical Transitions in GaN/AlN Nanowire Heterostructures

J Mussener and P Hille and T Grieb and J Schormann and J Teubert and E Monroy and A Rosenauer and M Eickhoff, ACS NANO, 11, 8758-8767 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b02419

We report on the control and modification of optical transitions in 40X GaN/AIN heterostructure superlattices embedded in GaN nanowires by an externally applied bias. The complex band profile of these multi- nanodisc heterostructures gives rise to a manifold of optical transitions, whose emission characteristic is strongly influenced by polarization-induced internal electric fields. We demonstrate that the superposition of an external axial electric field along a single contacted nanowire leads to specific modifications of each photoluminescence emission, which allows to investigate and identify their origin and to control their characteristic properties in terms of transition energy, intensity and decay time. Using this approach, direct transitions within one nanodisc, indirect transitions between adjacent nanodiscs, transitions at the top/bottom edge of the heterostructure, and the GaN near-band-edge emission can be distinguished. While the transition energy of the direct transition can be shifted by external bias over a range of 450 meV and changed in intensity by a factor of 15, the indirect transition exhibits an inverse bias dependence and is only observable and spectrally separated when external bias is applied. In addition, by tuning the band profile close to flat band conditions, the direction and magnitude of the internal electric field can be estimated, which is of high interest for the polar group III-nitrides. The direct control of emission properties over a wide range bears possible application in tunable optoelectronic devices. For more fundamental studies, single-nanowire hetrostructures provide a well-defined and isolated system to investigate and control interaction processes in coupled quantum structures.

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