Gallium nitride, aluminum nitride and indium nitride are basic materials for blue optoelectronic devices. The essential part of the technology of these devices is annealing at high temperatures. Thermodynamic properties of the Ga-N system and their consequences to application of high nitrogen pressure for the annealing of GaN based materials are summarized. The diffusion of Zn, Mg and Au in high dislocation density heteroepitaxial GaN/Al2O3 layers will be compared with the diffusion in dislocation-free GaN single crystals and homoepitaxial layers. It will be shown that high dislocation density can drastically change the diffusion rates, which strongly affects the performance of nitride devices. Inter-diffusion of Al, Ga and In in AlGaN/GaN and InGaN/GaN quantum well (QW) structures will be also considered. It will be shown that in contrast to stability of metal contacts, which is strongly influenced by dislocations, the inter-diffusion of group III atoms in QW structures is not affected strongly by the presence of high dislocation density. This is related to the different rate controlling slow process in these two diffusion processes. This feature of interdiffusion processes explains the success of heteroepitaxial techniques in the technology of nitride based light emitting diodes.
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