The 12 K cathodoluminescence spectra of Er3+ doped into single crystals of aluminum nitride (2H-AlN) in the hexagonal phase are reported between 320 nm and 775 nm. The emission spectra represent transitions from the lower Stark level of 2P(3/2) to the Stark levels of the 4I(15/2), 4I(13/2), 4I(11/2), 4I(9/2), 4F(9/2), and 4S(3/2) multiplet manifolds of Er3+(4f(11)). Emission spectra from 4S(3/2) to 4I(15/2) are also reported. All observed strong line emission are accounted for in terms of two principle sites, denoted site "a" and site "b", with a few line spectra attributed to additional sites. A parameterized Hamiltonian that includes the atomic and crystal-field terms for Er3+(4f(11)) (2S+1)L_J was used to determine the symmetry and the crystal field splitting of the "a" and "b" sites. A descent in symmetry calculation was carried out to determine if distortion due to the size difference between Er, Al and the vacancies can be discerned. Modeling results assuming C_3v and C_1h are discussed. It appears that the sensitivity to a C_1h model is not sufficient to invalidate the choice of C_3v as an approximate symmetry for both sites. The g-factors reported from an EPR study of Er3+ in single-crystal AlN are in reasonable agreement with calculated g-factors for Er3+ in the "a" site assuming C_3v symmetry.
Optical Materials Express
Gruber, John B.; Vetter, Ulrich; Burdick, Gary W.; Fleishman, Zachery D.; Merkle, Larry D.; Taniguchi, Takashi; Xiaoli, Yuan; Sekiguchi, Takashi; Jurgens, Daniel; and Hofsass, Hans, "Analysis of the spectra of trivalent erbium in multiple sites of hexagonal aluminum nitride" (2012). Faculty Publications. 2.