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  1. Surface-emitting semiconductor lasers have been widely used in data communications, sensing, and recently in Face ID and augmented reality glasses. Here, we report the first achievement of an all-epitaxial, distributed Bragg reflector (DBR)–free electrically injected surface-emitting green laser by exploiting the photonic band edge modes formed in dislocation-free gallium nitride nanocrystal arrays, instead of using conventional DBRs. The device operates at ~523 nm and exhibits a threshold current of ~400 A/cm 2 , which is over one order of magnitude lower compared to previously reported blue laser diodes. Our studies open a new paradigm for developing low-threshold surface-emitting laser diodes from the ultraviolet to the deep visible (~200 to 600 nm), wherein the device performance is no longer limited by the lack of high-quality DBRs, large lattice mismatch, and substrate availability.
  2. Abstract

    Ultrawide‐bandgap semiconductors such as AlN, BN, and diamond hold tremendous promise for high‐efficiency deep‐ultraviolet optoelectronics and high‐power/frequency electronics, but their practical application has been limited by poor current conduction. Through a combined theoretical and experimental study, it is shown that a critical challenge can be addressed for AlN nanostructures by using N‐rich epitaxy. Under N‐rich conditions, the p‐type Al‐substitutional Mg‐dopant formation energy is significantly reduced by 2 eV, whereas the formation energy for N‐vacancy related compensating defects is increased by ≈3 eV, both of which are essential to achieve high hole concentrations of AlN. Detailed analysis of the current−voltage characteristics of AlN p‐i‐n diodes suggests that current conduction is dominated by hole‐carrier tunneling at room temperature, which is directly related to the activation energy of Mg dopants. At high Mg concentrations, the dispersion of Mg acceptor energy levels leads to drastically reduced activation energy for a portion of Mg dopants, evidenced by the small tunneling energy of 67 meV, which explains the efficient current conduction and the very small turn‐on voltage (≈5 V) for the diodes made of nanoscale AlN. This work shows that nanostructures can overcome the dopability challenges of ultrawide‐bandgap semiconductors and significantly increase the efficiency of devices.