Thermodynamics of Al1-xGaxN solid solution: Inclination for phase separation and ordering

K. T. Jacob, G. Rajitha, L. Rannesh, H. Fukuyama, Y. Waseda

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Although Al1-xGaxN semiconductors are used in lighting, displays and high-power amplifiers, there is no experimental thermodynamic information on nitride solid solutions. Thermodynamic data are useful for assessing the intrinsic stability of the solid solution with respect to phase separation and extrinsic stability in relation to other phases such as metallic contacts. The activity of GaN in Al1-xGa xN solid solution is determined at 1100 K using a solid-state electrochemical cell: Ga + Al1-xGaxN/Fe, Ca3N2//CaF2//Ca3N2, N2 (0.1 MPa), Fe. The solid-state cell is based on single crystal CaF2 as the electrolyte and Ca3N2 as the auxiliary electrode to convert the nitrogen chemical potential established by the equilibrium between Ga and Al1-xGaxN solid solution into an equivalent fluorine potential. Excess Gibbs free energy of mixing of the solid solution is computed from the results. Results suggest an unusual mixing behavior: a mild tendency for ordering at three discrete compositions (x = 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75) superimposed on predominantly positive deviation from ideality. The lattice parameters exhibit slight deviation from Vegard's law, with the a-parameter showing positive and the c-parameter negative deviation. Although the solid solution is stable in the full range of compositions at growth temperatures, thermodynamic instability is indicated at temperatures below 410 K in the composition range 0.26 ≤ x ≤ 0.5. At 355 K, two biphasic regions appear, with terminal solid solutions stable only for 0 ≤ x ≤ 0.26 and 0.66 ≤ x ≤ 1. The range of terminal solid solubility reduces with decreasing temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan


  • Chemical potential
  • Enthalpy
  • Gibbs energy
  • Solid solution
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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