Image courtesy of Nano Lett


We study the growth of GaN nanowires from liquid Au–Ga catalysts using environmental transmission electron microscopy. GaN wires grow in either ⟨112̅0⟩ or ⟨11̅00⟩ directions, by the addition of {11̅00} double bilayers via step flow with multiple steps. Step-train growth is not typically seen with liquid catalysts, and we suggest that it results from low step mobility related to the unusual double-height step structure. The results here illustrate the surprising dynamics of catalytic GaN wire growth at the nanoscale and highlight striking differences between the growth of GaN and other III–V semiconductor nanowires.

Impact Statement

Dynamics of catalytic GaN wire growth from liquid Au− Ga was studied at 800-900C inside an ETEM. Through lattice-resolved imaging they suggested that NW growth by multiple steps is due to the low mobility of double bilayer steps.