Vacancy-type defects in AlN films were probed by using monoenergetic positron beams. The AlN films were deposited on sapphire substrates by using a radio-frequency sputtering technique. Epitaxial films grown by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy on the sputtered AlN films were also characterized. For the sputtered AlN, the major defect species was identified to be complexes between Al-vacancy and oxygen atoms located at nitrogen sites. Vacancy clusters were introduced after annealing at 1300 °C in the N2 atmosphere but their concentration decreased with a higher annealing temperature. The vacancy-oxygen complexes, however, still existed in the AlN film after annealing at 1700 °C. For the AlN epitaxial films, the concentration of vacancy clusters increased as the growth temperature increased up to 1300 °C but it decreased with the post-growth annealing at 1700 °C.
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