GaN grown by three different methods (MOVPE, GSMBE and HVPE) have been studied using temperature (T) dependent reflectivity and photoluminescence (PL). Both non intentionally doped (MOVPE, GSMBE and HVPE), n- and p-doped samples (MOVPE and GSMBE) have been investigated. Reflectivity is used to obtain intrinsic transition energies. These energies vary with the amount of strain in the crystal. Growth parameters influencing this strain state are discussed. Using MOVPE (T-g approximate to 1050 degrees C) and GSMBE (T-g approximate to 800 degrees C), it is possible to grow samples whose low temperature PL spectra are dominated by free and bound excitons and their phonon replica. Intentional n-type doping up to 10(20) cm(-3) is easily achieved with Si. For n much greater than 10(18) cm(-3), the spectra broaden and exhibit a blue shift, attributed to band filling. p-Type doping has been attempted using Mg, C and Ca. Ca doping led to compensated samples. C doping using CCl4 resulted in n-type samples, due to simultaneous oxygen incorporation in the layers; a strong enhancement of the 3.27 eV donor acceptor pair PL is also observed in this case. p-Type doping up to 10(18) cm(-3) has been achieved with Mg. With increasing densities, a deepening of the donor acceptor pair PL energy is observed. For high Mg doping, the spectra are dominated by a blue band in the 2.8 eV range, involving deep electron states. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science S.A.