High-quality, c-oriented ZnO epitaxial films have been grown on the a surface using molecular-beam epitaxy. The use of a-oriented sapphire eliminates rotational domains and related structural defects which have limited the use of ZnO in electronic applications. The ZnO epitaxial layers are uniquely oriented with the ZnO/sapphire orientational relationship ∥[112̄0] and (112̄0)∥. This unique orientation is a consequence of the anisotropy of the a-sapphire surface in conjunction with a strong correlation along a single direction leading to the term uniaxial locked epitaxy. High-resolution x-ray diffraction measurements show an increase in x-ray lateral coherence length from several tens of nanometers to >0.7 μm for growth of c-oriented ZnO on the a surface as opposed to the c surface of sapphire.
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