Title: Gallium nitride-based electronic devices
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100857/00001
 Material Information
Title: Gallium nitride-based electronic devices
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Zhang, Anping, 1970-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
Subject: Gallium nitride   ( lcsh )
Electronic apparatus and appliances   ( lcsh )
Semiconductors   ( lcsh )
Chemical Engineering thesis, Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Chemical Engineering -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Summary: ABSTRACT: Gallium Nitride (GaN) and related materials (especially Aluminum Gallium Nitride, AlGaN) have recently attracted a lot of interest for applications in high power electronics capable of operation at elevated temperatures and high frequencies. The AlGaInN system offers numerous advantages. These include wider bandgaps, good transport properties, the availability of heterostructures (particularly AlGaN/GaN), the experience base gained by the commercialization of GaN-based laser and light-emitting diodes and the existence of a high growth rate epitaxial method (hydride vapor phase epitaxy, HVPE) for producing very thick layers or even quasi-substrates. These attributes have led to rapid progress in the realization of a broad range of GaN electronic devices. Alsubscript xGasubscript 1-xN (X=0~0.25) Schottky rectifiers were fabricated in a lateral geometry using psuperscript +-implanted guard rings and rectifying contact overlap onto an SiO2 passivation layer. The reverse breakdown voltage (Vsubscript B) increased with the spacing between Schottky and ohmic metal contacts, reaching 9700 V for Alsubscript 0.25Gasubscript 0.75N and 6350 V for GaN, respectively, for 100 micrometer gap spacing. Assuming lateral depletion, these values correspond to breakdown field strengths of less than or equal to 9.67 x 10superscript 5 V-cmsuperscript -1, which is roughly a factor of 5 lower than the theoretical maximum in bulk GaN. The figure of merit (V subscript B)squared/R subscript ON, where Rsubscript ON is the on-state resistance, was in the range 94-268 MW-cmsuperscript -2 for all the devices.
Summary: ABSTRACT (cont.): Edge-terminated Schottky rectifiers were also fabricated on quasi-bulk GaN substrates grown by HVPE. For small diameter (75 micrometer) Schottky contacts, Vsubscript B measured in the vertical geometry was ~700 V, with an on-state resistance (Rsubscript ON) of 3 momega·cm squared, producing a figure-of-merit (Vsubscript B)squared/R subscript ON of 162.8 MW-cmsuperscript -2. Gallium nitride (GaN) p-i-n diodes were also fabricated. A direct comparison of GaN p-i-n and Schottky rectifiers fabricated on the same GaN wafer showed higher reverse breakdown voltage for the former (490 V versus 347 V for the Schottky diodes), but lower forward turn-on voltages for the latter (~3.5 V versus ~5 V for the p-i-n diodes). The forward I-V characteristics of the p-i-n rectifiers show behavior consistent with a multiple recombination center model. The reverse current in both types of rectifiers was dominated by surface perimeter leakage at moderate bias. Finally, all of the devices we fabricated showed negative temperature coefficients for reverse breakdown voltage due to high defect level, which is a clear disadvantage for elevated temperature operation. Bipolar devices are particularly interesting for high current applications such as microwave power amplifiers for radar, satellite and communication in the 1~5 GHz range, powers >100 W and operating temperatures >425 degrees C. pnp Bipolar Junction Transistors and pnp Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors were demonstrated for the first time. For power microwave applications, small area self-aligned npn GaN/AlGaN HBTs were attempted. The devices showed very promising direct current characteristics.
Summary: KEYWORDS: gallium nitride, electronic devices
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2001.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 137-144).
System Details: System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
System Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility: by Anping Zhang.
General Note: Title from first page of PDF file.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains vii, 145 p.; also contains graphics.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100857
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 49263279
alephbibnum - 002763278
notis - ANP1299


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To my parents and my wife, for their love and support.


I would like to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Fan Ren for introducing me to

this exciting field and for his patient guidance as my research advisor. His hard work to

provide an extremely well-equipped lab and high standards for research, along with a

very professional work environment, gives each of his students a unique opportunity to

gain valuable experience.

I must also express my thanks to Dr. Stephen J. Pearton for his invaluable

knowledge on III-V material processing and devices which has been very helpful to me;

and to Dr. Fred Sharifi for letting me use his facilities and providing a lot of help.

I would also like to thank Drs. Cammy R. Abernathy, Timothy J. Anderson and

Chang-Won Park for being members of my committee and spending time on my behalf. I

especially appreciate the lab mates from our group and collaborators from Dr. Pearton's

I am forever indebted to my parents, who always encouraged me to achieve

excellence in every aspect of life and supported me throughout my educational

endeavors; and to my wife for her selfless support and never-ending understanding.


ACKN OW LED GM EN TS ...................................................................... iii

ABSTRACT ........... ........... ........... ....... ..................vi


1. INTRODUCTION .......................... ....................... .......... 1

1.1 Gallium Nitride-Based M materials ................... ..... .......... ..... ........... 5
1.2 Gallium Nitride-Based Optoelectronic and Electronic Devices ..................11
1.2.1 Gallium Nitride-Based Optoelectronic Devices.................................11
1.2.2 Gallium Nitride-Based Electronic Devices .......................... ............13

2. GALLIUM NITRIDE-BASED DEVICE PROCESSING...........................18

2.1 Chlorine/Argon(C12/Ar) High Density Inductively Coupled Plasma Damage in
GaN Schottky Diodes ........................ ............. .......... ......... 19
2.1.1 Introduction................................... ................. 19
2.1.2 Experimental M ethods ............. ....................... ..........................20
2.1.3 Results and Discussion ............................................... .......... ..21
2.1.4 Sum m ary and Conclusion..................... ....................................... 31
2.2 Effect ofN, Inductively Coupled Plasma Treatment on n-AlGaN/GaN
OhmicContacts................................................................ ......... 31
2.2.1 Introduction.......... ...................... ... ............31
2.2.2 Experimental M ethods ............ ...................... ................... ..... 33
2.2.3 R results and D discussion .................................................................34
2.2.4 Sum m ary and Conclusion ............ ........... ................ .... ............. 37

POWER RECTIFIERS ............... ............... ........................... 43

3.1 Introduction....................... ...... ................. ..... ...... ............43
3.2 Gallium Nitride Schottky Rectifiers with 3.1 kV Reverse Breakdown
V oltage ............................................ ....... ..... .. ................. 46
3.3 Aluminum Gallium Nitride Schottky Rectifiers with 4.1 kV Reverse Breakdown
V oltage ................... ........................................... ....... 58
3.3.1 Introduction............................. .................. ........ 58
3.3.2 Experimental M ethods ............ ...................... ................... ..... 59
3.3.3 Results and Discussion ............................................... ............60

3 .3 .4 Su m m ary ............ ...... ............ ... ................ ..... ............ 6 5
3.4 Temperature Dependence and Current Transport Mechanisms in AlxGajxN
Schottky Rectifiers........... ........................ ............. .......... 65
3.4.1 Introduction.................................. .......... ........ 65
3.4.2 Results and Discussion ................... ........................... ................66
3.4.3 Sum m ary............. ......... .................... .. ... .... .............71
3.5 Lateral AlxGal-xN Power Rectifiers with 9.7 kV Reverse Breakdown
Voltage ................... ..................................... ........ 74
3.5.1 Introduction................................... ......... ........ 74
3.5.2 Experim ental M ethods................. ................. ........... .............. 74
3.5.3 Results and Discussion ........................................................... 75
3.5.4 Summary and Conclusion................. ...................... ................78
3.6 Vertical and Lateral GaN Rectifiers on Free-Standing GaN
Substrate........... ................ ..................................... ... .......... 83

4. GALLIUM NITRIDE p-i-n POWER RECTIFIERS........... .. .......... 93

4.1 Comparison of GaN p-i-n and Schottky Rectifiers Performance....................93
4.1.1 Experimental Methods ............ .................................. ...............94
4.1.2 Results and Discussion ...........................................................95
4.1.3 Sum m ary and Conclusion ............ ............................. .............. 107

5. GALLIUM NITRIDE-BASED BIPOLAR DEVICES.......... ............ 112

5.1 Gallium Nitride pnp Bipolar Junction Transistors Operated to 250 C........... 112
5 .1.1 Introdu action ................................................ ................... .. ..112
5.1.2 Experim ental M ethods ................................... .......... ........... ...112
5.1.3 Results and Discussion .................................... ..................114
5.1.4 Summary and Conclusion......................................................... 118
5.2 Direct-Current Characteristics of pnp AlGaN/GaN Heterostructure Bipolar
Transistors ................... ......... .................... ....... ... .........118
5.2.1 Introduction.................. ................. ............................ 118
5.2.2 Experimental Methods ............................................ ................120
5.2.3 Results and Discussion ................................. .... ............ 121
5.2.4 Summary and Conclusion ......................................... ..126
5.3 Self-Aligned Small-Area GaN/AlGaN Heterojunction Bipolar
Transistors ........... ................... ...................... ........ 126
5.3.1 Introduction................... .................... ................... ........126
5.3.2 Experimental Methods ............... ................. ......... .............129
5.3.3 Results and Discussion .................................... ..................130
5.3.4 Summary and Conclusion ............ ......... .................. ..133

REFERENCES ................... .............................. 137

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH ....................................................................... 145


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy




August 2001

Chairman: Fan Ren
Major Department: Chemical Engineering

Gallium Nitride (GaN) and related materials (especially AlGaN) have recently

attracted a lot of interest for applications in high-power electronics capable of operation

at elevated temperatures and high frequencies. The AlGaInN system offers numerous

advantages. These include wider bandgaps, good transport properties, the availability of

heterostructures (particularly AlGaN/GaN), the experience base gained by the

commercialization of GaN-based laser and light-emitting diodes; and the existence of a

high-growth-rate epitaxial method (hydride vapor phase epitaxy, HVPE) for producing

very thick layers or even quasi-substrates. These attributes have led to rapid progress in

the realization of a broad range of GaN electronic devices.

AlxGal-xN (X=0-0.25) Schottky rectifiers were fabricated in a lateral geometry

using p'-implanted guard rings and rectifying contact overlap onto an SiO2 passivation

layer. The reverse breakdown voltage (VB) increased with the spacing between Schottky

and ohmic metal contacts, reaching 9700 V for Al0.25Ga0.75N and 6350 V for GaN,

respectively, for 100 .im gap spacing. Assuming lateral depletion, these values

correspond to breakdown field strengths of <9.67x105 V-cm-1, which is roughly a factor

of 5 lower than the theoretical maximum in bulk GaN. The figure of merit (VB)2/RoN,

where RON is the on-state resistance, was in the range 94-268 MW-cm-2 for all the

devices. Edge-terminated Schottky rectifiers were also fabricated on quasi-bulk GaN

substrates grown by HVPE. For small diameter (75 [tm) Schottky contacts, VB measured

in the vertical geometry was -700 V, with an on-state resistance (RON) of 3 mQOcm2,

producing a figure-of-merit VB2/RON of 162.8 MW-cm2.

Gallium nitride (GaN) p-i-n diodes were also fabricated. A direct comparison of

GaN p-i-n and Schottky rectifiers fabricated on the same GaN wafer showed higher

reverse breakdown voltage for the former (490 V versus 347 V for the Schottky diodes),

but lower forward turn-on voltages for the latter (-3.5 V versus -5 V for the p-i-n

diodes). The reverse current in both types of rectifiers was dominated by surface

perimeter leakage at moderate bias. Finally, all of the devices we fabricated showed

negative temperature coefficients for reverse breakdown voltage due to high defect level,

which is a clear disadvantage for elevated temperature operation.

Bipolar devices are particularly interesting for high current applications such as

microwave power amplifiers for radar, satellite and communication in the 1-5 GHz

range, powers >100 W and operating temperatures >425 C. We demonstrated pnp

Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT) and pnp Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (HBT) for

the first time. For power microwave applications, small area self-aligned npn

GaN/AlGaN HBTs were attempted. The devices showed very promising direct current



For the last three decades or so, the III-nitride semiconductor material system has

been viewed as highly promising for semiconductor device applications at blue and

ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths in much the same manner that its highly successful As-

based and P-based counterparts have been exploited for infrared, red and yellow

wavelengths. As members of the III-V nitrides family, A1N, GaN, InN and their alloys

are all wide band gap materials, and can crystallize in both wurtzite and zinc-blende

polytypes. Wurtizite GaN, A1N and InN have direct room temperature bandgaps of 3.4,

6.2 and 1.9 eV, respectively (Figure 1-1). In cubic form, GaN and InN have direct

bandgaps, while A1N is indirect. In view of the available wide range of direct bandgaps,

GaN alloyed with A1N and InN may span a continuous range of direct bandgap energies

throughout much of the visible spectrum well into the ultraviolet wavelengths. This

makes the nitride system attractive for optoelectronic device applications, such as light

emitting diodes (LEDs), laser diodes (LDs) and detectors which are active in the green,

blue or UV wavelengths [1]. Although similar applications based on InGaAlP

heterostructures have been successfully demonstrated, this material system is limited to

about 550 nm. The addition of III-V nitrides to the family of device-quality

semiconductors is essential for developing full-color displays (Fig. 1-2), coherent sources

required by high density optical storage technologies, and very likely devices for signal







4.0 5.0
Lattice Constant (A)


Figure 1-1 Bandgap of hexagonal (a-phase) InN, GaN and
versus lattice constant.




A1N and their alloys

,I A1GaAs


Figure 1-2 The various ternary and quaternary materials used for LEDs with
the wavelength ranges indicated.

* Direct Bandgap
o Indirect Bandgap


ZnS MgSe

AlP q ZnSe
Al P
sInN CCdSe




I- _

and illumination application. Particularly, the combination of GaN-based blue and green

LEDs with GaAs-based red LEDs forms the basis for large-scale full displays and white

light illumination. The solid-state white-light source generated by mixing the primary

colors in a light scrambling configuration would provide not only compactness and high

lifetime, but also would reduce power consumption by 80-90% compared to

incandescent or fluorescent light sources.

Another area gaining a lot of attention for III-V nitrides is high-temperature/high-

power electronics [2,3,4,5]. The interest stems from two intrinsic properties of this group

of semiconductors. The first is their wide bandgap nature. The wide bandgap materials,

such as GaN and SiC, are promising for high-temperature applications because they go

intrinsic at much higher temperatures than materials like Ge, Si and GaAs. It means that

GaN power devices can operate with less cooling and fewer high-cost processing steps

associated with complicated structures designed to maximize heat extraction. The second

attractive property of III-V nitrides is that they have high breakdown fields. The critical

electric field of the breakdown scales roughly with the square of the energy band gap,

and is estimated to be >4 MV/cm for GaN [6], as compared to 0.2 and 0.4 MV/cm for Si

and GaAs, respectively.

GaN also has excellent electron transport properties, including good mobility, and

high saturated drift velocity [7], thus making this material suitable for general electronics

and promising for microwave rectifiers, particularly. The material properties associated

with high temperature, high power, and high-frequency application of GaN and several

conventional semiconductors are summarized in Table 1-1. It is anticipated that GaN may

eventually prove to be superior to SiC in this area.

Table 1-1. Comparison of 300K semiconductor material properties [8].

Si GaAs GaN A1N 6H-SiC
Bandgap (eV) @300 oC 1.1 1.4 3.4 6.2 2.9
indirect direct direct direct indirect
Electron mobility (cm2/V s), RT 1400 8500 1000 (bulk) 135 600
2000 (2D-gas)
Hole Mobility (cm2/V s), RT 600 400 30 14 40
Saturation velocity (cm/s), 107 1 2 2.5 1.4 2
Breakdown field (V/cm), 106 0.3 0.4 >5 4
Thermal conductivity (W/cm) 1.5 0.5 1.5 2 5
Melting temperature (K) 1690 1510 >1700 3000 >2100
CFOM* 1 8 489 458

*CFOM=X ~vsEB2/(Z PsEB2)Sl, combined Figure of Merit for high
temperature/high power/high frequency application.

The strongest feature of the III-V nitrides compared to SiC is the heterostructure

technology it can support Quantum well, modulation-doped heterointerface, and

heterojunction structure can all be made in this system, giving access to new spectral

regions for optical devices and new operation regimes for electronic devices. From this

point of view, III-V nitrides can be considered the wide-bandgap equivalent of the

AlGaAs/InGaAs system which has set the modern benchmark for microwave device


Other attractive properties of III-V nitrides include high mechanical and thermal

stability, large piezoelectric constants and the possibility of passivation by forming thin

layers of Ga203 or A1203 with band gaps of 4.3 and 9.2 eV, respectively. In addition, A1N

has received considerable attention for its insulating property [9], particularly as a

potential isoelectronic insulator for GaAs field effect transistors (FETs).

1.1 Gallium Nitride-Based Materials

Substantial research on III-V nitrides growth was initiated in the early 1960s.

However, they have trailed behind the easier-to-grow Si and GaAs semiconductors on the

development curve. Nearly 30 years later, Si and GaAs have been pushed to their

theoretical limits, while nitrides are just beginning to show their promise. The

technological spin-offs came late because ideal substrates could not be found and the

consequent growth of GaN thin films contained substantial concentration of defects and

had high n-type background. Even in films with relatively small background electron

concentration, p-type doping could not be achieved until recently.

One particular difficulty in the growth of GaN thin films is the unavailability of

sufficiently large (>1 cm) single crystals for use as substrate for homoepitaxial growth.

Thus up to now, heteroepitaxial growth has been a practical necessity and the choice of

substrate is critical. Possible substrate materials should have low thermal expansion and

lattice mismatch with the grown crystals. Also, they should be unaffected by the growth

chemistries (such as NH3 or H2) at high growth temperatures (in excess of 1000 C in

some cases). Under these constraints, sapphire (A1203) and SiC are the most popular

substrate materials used currently. When hexagonal GaN is grown on the (0001) basal

plane of A1203, a lattice misfit of -13% exits at the growth temperatures. A high density

of threading dislocations is observed in GaN layers. The residual strain is comparable to

the lattice misfit between 6H-SiC and GaN, and the result is comparable with dislocation

densities observed [10]. Today, SiC substrates, though more costly, are of increasing

interest for high temperature and high-power devices like transistors due to their good

thermal conductivity and possibility of n- and p-type doping. The materials with a close

lattice match with GaN, such as LiAlO2 [11] and LiGaQO [12], were also used for

epitaxial substrates. However, the grown GaN lacked the desired electronic properties

due to either the rough growth or unintentional contamination from the substrates. The

ideal candidate substrate is clearly a GaN wafer. Several research groups are

investigating the growth of the bulk GaN crystals and very thick films through various

techniques [13-15]. However, commercially available large area GaN wafers appear to be

several years away. The nitride community is, therefore, challenged with growing of

heteroepitaxial films having large MISFITs.

Many epitaxial thin-film growth processes have been developed, including

molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) [16,17], hydride vapor-phase epitaxy (HVPE) [13-

15,18], metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) [19-24], and derivatives of

these methods. In the past few years, MOCVD [19-24] has evolved as a leading

technique for production of III-V nitride optoelectronic and microelectronic devices. One

remarkable application worth mentioning is the achievement of super-bright blue LEDs

[22]. Characteristics of this method include the use of high purity chemical sources, a

high degree of composition control and uniformity, high growth rates, large scale

manufacturing potential and the ability to grow abrupt junctions.

Initially the growth of GaN was performed directly on sapphire and SiC

substrates, with large crystalline defects threading vertically from the substrate interface

through the newly deposited thin film. The wafer usually had rough surfaces mainly

caused by the 3D-growth mode. In 1986, Amano et al. [20] succeeded in remarkably

improving the GaN surface morphology as well as the electrical and optical properties by

depositing a thin low-temperature A1N buffer layer before the high-temperature growth

of GaN. The essential role of this buffer is to serve as a template for the nucleation of

growth and promote lateral growth of the GaN film due to the decrease in interfacial free

energy between the film and the substrate. Although the buffer layer has reduced the

effects of the lattice mismatch, the densities of the threading defects in these thin films

are still in the range of 109-1010 cm2, and on the order of one million times higher than in

other semiconductor systems such as Si and GaAs. These defect-laden materials, to date,

have had a surprisingly small effect on the performance of both optical and electronic

devices, but they may raise major questions as to the long-term stability of these devices.

It is unlikely that the full promise of GaN and related alloys can be realized without a

major reduction in the defect densities in the as-grown materials.

In 1994, the lateral epitaxial overgrowth (LEO) technique was used to further

improve the quality of the heteroepitaxially grown GaN, resulting in a marked reduction

in defect density [23]. In this method, a layer of GaN grown by MOCVD is covered with

100-200 nm of amorphous SiO2 and Si3N4 with ex situ techniques. Small circular or

rectangular "windows" are then etched through to the underlying GaN. A GaN film is

then regrown under conditions such that growth occurs epitaxially only in the windows

and not on the mask. If growth continues, lateral growth over the mask eventually occurs.

Since most of the extended dislocations propagate in the growth direction through GaN,

very few threading dislocations are visible in the regrown GaN that extends laterally over

the mask. Marchand et al. [24] observed that the density of dislocations reaching the

surface of LEO GaN was in the 104-105 cm2 range, while the film over the window

regions still contained high levels of the threading defects. Figure 1-3 compares the cross-

section transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of a typical MOCVD growth (a) and

LEO GaN (b).

A refined approach to a nearly dislocation free GaN substrate for devices can be

used by two successive LEO steps with the mask of the second step positioned over the

opening defined by the mask of the first step, thus blocking the defects that have grown

out of the first windows. This complicated procedure offers the possibility of eliminating

the disadvantages of heteroepitaxy, and will be important until GaN substrates become


In addition to growing GaN films with low defect densities, another key

requirement for fabricating devices is the ability to precisely control the desired electrical

properties of the thin film. In general, wide bandgap semiconductors are difficult to dope

due to native defects. When the enthalpy for defect formation is lower than the band gap

energy, the probability of generating a defect increases with the bandgap, i.e., the energy

released by donor-to-acceptor transition. Particularly for GaN, MOCVD grown material

is commonly n-type, and N-vacancy was long believed to be the dominant donor. Many

attempts have been made to avoid N-vacancy formation by growing GaN at high

pressures and high temperatures [25,26]. Efficient n-type doping of GaN through

incorporation of Si during the growth proved relatively easy to achieve. High doping can

also be achieved by implanting Si or Group VI donors. Recently, Burm et al. [27] have

shown a shallow Si implant at high dose to produce a doping density of 4x1020 cm-3

resulted in an extremely low Ohmic contact resistance of 4x10-8 Qcm2 using Ti/Au




- u

Figure 1-3 Cross-section TEM of typical MOCVD grown GaN using
a A1N buffer on Sapphire (left) and typical LEO GaN
(right, after [24]).


Since conductivity is proportional to the product of carrier concentration and Hall

mobility, another goal for GaN used in device applications is to obtain the highest Hall

mobilities possible [28,29]. As can be seen, the experimental data are roughly half of the

calculated value, possibly due to significant scattering from impurities and defects in the

state-of-the-art materials.

The III-V nitrides are expected to be made p-type by substituting Column II

elements such as Zn, Mg Be and Ca on Ga sites to form single acceptors. However, all of

these divalent elements form deep acceptors, the shallowest being Mg with an ionization

level of 0.17 eV which is still many kTs above the valence bandedge of GaN [30]. At this

acceptor level, one should only expect <10% of the Mg atoms to be ionized at room

temperature, which means the Mg concentration needs to be approximately two orders of

magnitude larger than the desired hole concentration. When MOCVD is used as the

growth method, it has been difficult to obtain p-type conductivity. It was later found that

hydrogen plays a crucial role in passivating the Mg acceptors, and creates a neutral

complex Mg-H that prevents the formation of holes in GaN [31]. It was first shown by

Amano et al. [32] that p-type conductivity could be achieved by activating Mg-doped

GaN using low-energy electron irradiation. Nakamura then showed that the activation of

Mg can also be realized by thermal annealing at -7000C [33]. Note that MBE grown GaN

doped with Mg may be p-type without a thermal activation process, because of the

absence of hydrogen and H-N radicals during growth. In addition, p-type doping was also

achieved by implant of Ca or Mg into GaN, followed by high-temperature annealing

(-1100 C) [34,35]. The highest hole concentration reported so far is ~1018 cm3, and the

typical hole mobility is very low, often 10 cm2/V-s or below, but allowing the realization

of p-n junctions. Achieving low-resistance Ohmic contacts to the GaN layers with poor p-

type doping concentrations has proven troublesome. Recently, Brandt et al. [36] found

that by compensating Be with O, a neutral dipole is formed that does not scatter the holes.

Hence a record high hole mobility of 150 cm2/V-s was obtained. This may be the ideal

contact layer for GaN based devices.

1.2 Gallium Nitride-Based Optoelectronic and Electronic Devices

1.2.1 Gallium Nitride-Based Optoelectronic Devices

The current level of the progress in the development of GaN commercially viable

devices, namely GaN based-LEDs, LDs and UV detectors, has been the direct result of

the realization of high-quality layers of GaN, AlGaN, InGaN, and relatively recent

achievement of p-type conduction in GaN. The first p-n junction LED was demonstrated

by Amano et al. [32] in 1989. Then, Nichia Chemical Industries announced the

commercial availability of blue LEDs with high efficiency and luminous intensities over

1 cd [22]. Since then, high-brightness single quantum-well structure blue, green, and

yellow InGaN LEDs with luminous intensities above 10 cd [37,38] have been

commercialized. In 1996, Nakamura et al. [39] reported the first current-injection GaN-

based LDs with separate confinement heterostructure, and subsequently achieved

continuous-wave (CW) lasing at room temperature [40]. Figure 1-4 shows the cross-

section of a nitride-based laser diode. The active layer is an InGaN multiquantum well

with a large number of well layers. Gallium nitride (GaN) and AlGaN were used as the

waveguide and cladding layers, respectively. The mirror facet was formed by numerous

methods, including dry etching, polishing or cleaving.


p-GaN:Mg p-contact
p-AlGaN:Mg clad
p-GaN:Mg waveguide
InGaN QWs active
n-GaN:Si waveguide
n-AlGaN:Si clad
n-GaN:Si n-contact


Figure 1-4 Cross-sectional view of a typical structure of GaN-based
laser diode.

Surprisingly, the high-density dislocations resulting from the heteroepitaxial

growth on sapphire in these optical devices did not appear to be efficient non-radiative

centers, as they are in other III-V materials. However, the crystalline defects do affect

device reliability. Nichia used the LEO growth technique for their blue LDs and achieved

an increase in device lifetime from a few hundred hours to an estimated 10,000 h [41].

Another major problem limiting diode performance is high specific contact resistance of

Ohmic contact on the p-GaN side of the junction. Present lateral GaN lasers suffer

significant IR drops due to poor p-type doping and Ohmic metallization.

1.2.2 Gallium Nitride-Based Electronic Devices

The nitride material growth technology that supports the optical device efforts has

also proven to be compatible with the development of electronic devices. In the past

several years, the electronic device development has emphasized field effect transistor

(FET) structures, because this important class of devices places smaller demands on the

growth and fabrication technique compared to bipolar transistors. The rapid progress that

has been made, especially in modulation-doped FETs (MODFETs), has been sufficient to

show that GaN and related alloys will play a significant role in the future development of

high temperature, high power and high-frequency electronic devices [42-45].

GaN-based transistors have a unique combination of high current density, high

breakdown electric field, and good thermal conductivity, that enable previously

unrealizable microwave power performance for solid state transistors. For microwave

transistor performance, two figures of merit (FOMs) have been developed for comparing

the inherent semiconductor material capabilities. These FOMs are Johnson's FOM

(VsatEc)2 and the Baliga's high frequency FOM (gEc2), where Ec is the critical breakdown

field, Vsat is the electron saturation velocity and |j is the low field electron mobility. Fig.

1-5 shows these figures of merit normalized to silicon for all the potential microwave

semiconductor materials. The FOM comparison clearly shows the advantage of the GaN

material system [46].

Figure 1-6 shows a GaN/AlGaN heterostructure. Due to the large conduction band

discontinuity, the electrons diffusing from the large bandgap AlGaN into the smaller

bandgap GaN form a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in the triangle quantum well

at the interface, which is the hallmark of MODFET. The sheet carrier density of the

2DEG was found to be further enhanced by the strong pizeoelectronic effect in GaN.

Pizeoelectronic coefficients in nitrides were measured to be about an order of magnitude

higher than in traditional Group III-V semiconductors [47]. Theoretical simulations have

predicted a high peak electron velocity of -3 x107 cm/s [29] and an electron mobility of

-2000 cm2/V-s in the GaN channel at room temperature at a carrier concentration of 1017

cm-3 [48]. Gaska et al. [8] found the highest measured Hall mobility at room temperature

was 2019 cm2/V-s, and increased approximately fivefold to 10,250 cm2/V-s below 10 K

for growth on 6H SiC substrate.

In 1993, Khan et al. [42] demonstrated the first AlGaN/GaN MODFET, with a gm

of 23 mS/mm and 2DEG mobility of 563 cm2/V-s at 300 K. They also reported the first

microwave results with ft of 11 GHz and fmax of 14 GHz [43]. In the early stages, the

MODFETs exhibited very low transconductances and relatively poor frequency response.

This is consistent with the defect-laden nature of the early GaN and AlGaN layers. With

improvements in the materials quality, the transconductance, current capacity, and drain

breakdown voltage are all increased to the point that GaN-based MODFETs are now

strong contenders in the arena of high-power devices and amplifiers. To date, the highest

power density achieved for a 0.45x125 |tm GaN MODFET is 6.8 W/mm at 10 GHz and

associated gain of 10.65 dB. The operation temperature has been pushed to 750C by

employing a thermally stable Pt/Au gate contact [45].

Johnson's (series 1) and Baliga's (series 2) high frequency
figure-of-merit normalized to silicon.



+ E EC
---- -- ----I ------------------E
a .........-o...-- 0 ..... E F


Figure 1-6 Conduction band structure of a modulation-doped structure.


S200 -

p 150 ESeriesl
S100 Series2

3 50

0 -
Si GaAs InP SiC GaN

Figure 1-5

The published performances of epitaxial GaN-based MESFETs show that all the

required components for a MESFET-based technology are in place [49, 50]. That is, an

appropriate high resistivity buffer and sub state combination has been developed for

doped layer epitaxial growth, FET channels can be grown with thin n+ contact layers on

which Ohmic contact with adequate contact resistances have been achieved, gate

metallizations that can pinch off the channel and support a high drain bias have been

demonstrated, and it has shown that both mesa etch and implant isolation can be used to

define the active device area. Recently, an all implanted GaN junction FET, an Si3N4

gated GaN MISFET [52], and a Ga203 (Gd204) gated GaN MOSFET with reasonable

performance were also reported. These types of devices potentially have an advantage

over MESFET, especially at high temperatures due to low reverse leakage currents.

So far, few reports exist on development of GaN-based bipolar transistors [54,55].

Basically the device performance is limited by the difficulty in growth and processing

related to the buried p-type layer and the small minority carrier lifetime. It is still far from

commercialization of these devices, but their developments will follow the material

improvements in the new decade, and much impetus comes from defense applications

where ultrawide bandwidth and linearity are desired.

Group III-V nitrides offer a valuable combination of electrical, optical and

pizeoelectrical behavior, and enable the fabrication of LEDs, LDs, detectors, and

transistors. In the past, the poor quality of the materials, the lack of p-type doping, and

the absence of reliable processing procedures thwarted engineers and scientists from

fabricating these useful devices. However, the 1990s have brought significant advances

in the sophistication of growth techniques, the purity of the chemicals used for film

deposition, the controlled introduction and activation of selected impurities, and progress

in processing techniques. Most of the aforementioned obstacles have been sufficiently

overcome, and the electronic and optical devices have been demonstrated and partially

commercialized. Market projections show that GaN-based blue and green LEDs will

represent most of the estimated US$ 3 billion per year GaN-based device market by

2006. In transistors, GaN can go where no other semiconductors have gone before. The

future development in this area will definitely be fueled by the increasing demand for

high-temperature, high-power applications. From materials science to device engineering,

from laboratory research to commercial products, III-V nitride technologies have shown a

late but exciting development.


While further improvements in the III-V nitride materials quality can be expected

to enhance device operation, further device advances will also require improved

processing technology. Owing to their wide bandgap nature and chemical stability, GaN

and related materials present a host of device processing challenges, including poor p-

type doping (by implantation), difficulty in achieving reliable low-resistance p-Ohmic

contacts, high temperatures needed for implant activation, lack of efficient wet etch

process, generally low dry etch rates and low selectivity over etching masks, and dry etch

damage. These problems constitute a major obstacle to successful demonstration and

commercialization of some GaN-based devices, such as bipolar transistors and power

switches, whose performance are much more affected by the immature fabrication

techniques. To fully exploit these device applications, a number of critical advances are

necessary in the areas of implantation doping and isolation, high-temperature thermal

processing, Ohmic contact to p-type material, dry etching process, and device

passivation. The current state-of-the-art results on advanced GaN processing were have

been reviewed [8]. In this chapter, the results from C12/Ar high density inductively

coupled plasma damage in GaN Schottky diodes and N2 inductively coupled plasma

discharge treatment on n-AlGaN/GaN Ohmic contacts will be presented.

2.1 Chlorine/Argon (C12/Ar) High Density Inductively Coupled Plasma damage in
GaN Schottky Diodes

2.1.1 Introduction

Precise pattern transfer during fabrication of GaN-based devices requires use of

dry etching methods with relatively high ion energy in order to break the strong Ga-N

bonds (8.92 eV/atom) [56]. Under those conditions generally some ion-induced damage

remains in the GaN after dry etching, along with the possibility of a non-stoichiometric

near-surface region due to preferential loss of atomic nitrogen in the form of N2 [57-59].

The Ga etch product in C12-based discharges is GaC13, and this is less volatile than N2

both from a pure chemical vapor presence and from a preferential sputtering viewpoint.

There has been relatively little work on understanding the effects of plasma

processes on the electrical characteristics of GaN. Exposure to pure Ar discharges was

found to produce higher reverse-bias leakage currents in p-n junction structures compared

to use of Ar/N2 discharges [60]. Even relatively low power reactive ion etching (RIE)

conditions were found to deteriorate the quality of Schottky contacts deposited on

plasma-etched n-GaN [61,62]. The preferential loss of nitrogen from the GaN surface

does improve the specific contact resistance of n-type ohmic contacts because of the

creation of a degenerately doped surface layer [63], but may increase the average sheet

resistance of the GaN. Previous results have shown that exposure of GaN to H2 or N2

Inductively Coupled Plasmas (ICP) prior to deposition of Schottky contacts creates a

damaged region -500 A deep that can be essentially restored to its original characteristics

by annealing at 750 C. There are also situations where GaN device structures use a metal

contact as a self-aligned etch mask. In this case it is of interest to examine the effects of

plasma exposure on samples with existing Schottky contacts.

2.1.2 Experimental Methods

GaN Schottky devices already have the contacts in place. The degradation of

reverse breakdown voltage (VB) and Schottky barrier height (iB) was strongly dependent

on the incident ion energy and flux. Both annealing and UV ozone treatment were

employed to try to remove the plasma damage.

Planar diodes were fabricated on nominally undoped (n-1017cm3) GaN layers -3

jtm thick grown on an n (101 cm-3) GaN buffer on a c-plane A1203 substrate [64].

Ohmic contacts were formed with lift-off Ti/Au subsequently annealed at 600 OC,

followed by evaporation of the 250 |tm diameter Pt(250 A)/Au(1500 A) Schottky

contacts through a stencil mask.

The samples were briefly exposed (-10secs controlled by the system software) to

10C12/5Ar (total gas load 15 standard cubic centimeters per minute) ICP discharges in a

Plasma Therm 790 reactor. During the ignition stage of the discharge, the dc self-bias

takes -2 secs to reach its final value. From limited measurements we found that damage

saturates in this time frame. The gases were injected directly into the source through

electronic mass flow controllers, and the 2MHz source power was varied from 100-1000

W. The samples were placed on an rf-powered (13.56 MHz, 5-300 W), He backside-

cooled chuck. Process pressure was hold constant at 2 m Torr.

The current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of the diodes were recorded on a HP

4145A parameter analyzer. Barrier heights (iB) and ideality factors (n) accurate to +5%

were obtained from the forward I-V characteristic according to the relationship [1]:

e( eV 2-1
J=A**T2exp( )[exp(n 1)]
kT nkT

Where J is the current density, A** the effective Richardson constant, T the

measurement temperature (25 C), e the electronic charge and k is Boltzmann's constant.

The reverse breakdown voltage (VB) was defined as the voltage at which the current

density was 3.06x 104 mA/cm2 (i.e. a current of 15 mA).

Some diodes were annealed at temperatures up to 800 OC for 30 secs under N2

after plasma exposure, while others were treated in UV-ozone at 25 C for periods up to

20 minutes in a Jelight 200S system, followed by rinsing in HC1 solutions. Auger

Electron Spectroscopy (AES) was performed in some cases on blanket (unmetallized)


2.1.3 Results and Discussion

Figure 2-1 shows some typical I-V characteristics from GaN diodes after

exposure to the ICP C12/Ar discharges at fixed ICP source power and varying rf power.

The latter parameter controls the average energy of ions (predominantly Ar+ and C12 in

this case) incident on the samples. There is a clear degradation in VB as this rf chuck

power is increased. Control diodes not exposed to the plasma had I-V characteristics that

were similar to curves 1 and 2, with VB of 38 V and 6B of 0.82 eV.

The dependence of VB and 6B on rf chuck power is shown in the upper part of

Figure 2-2. Both of these parameters, at least initially, decrease with increasing power.

The 6B values saturate beyond 50 W. The main effect on 6B is from damage created

around the contact periphery. This would expected to saturate once a N2-deficient region

S 0 .000 ................................................................. .

-0.005 1


-0.015 I I
-40 -30 -20 -10 0
Voltage (V)

Figure 2-1 I-V characteristics from GaN diodes after C12/Ar plasma
exposure (300W source power, 2m Torr) with different rf

is created because much of the resultant 6B is still determined by the unexposed region

under the contact metal. Under these conditions, the dc chuck self-bias increases from -

105 V at 50 W to -275 V at 200 W. The average ion energy is roughly the sum of this

voltage plus the plasma potential which is 20-25 V in this system under these conditions.

After plasma exposure, the diode ideality factor was always >2, which is a further

indication of the degradation in electrical properties of the structures. The results are

consistent with creation of an ion damaged, non-stoichiometric GaN surface region. This

region exists in the plasma-exposed area outside the metal contacts. Note that the GaN

etch rate increases monotonically with rf chuck power (Figure 2.2, bottom), but this more

rapid removal of material is not enough to offset the greater amount of damage caused by

the higher-energy ion bombardment. We believe the GaN must be non-stoichiometric and

hence more n-type at the surface because of the sharp decreases observed in VB. In the

case of semiconductors such as GaAs where ion bombardment creates more resistive

material by introduction of deep compensating levels rather than shallow donor states, the

breakdown voltage is generally found to increase with exposure to plasmas [65-67].

The dependence of VB and 6B on ICP source power is shown in Figure 2-3 (top).

While 4B continues to decrease as the ion flux increases, VB initially degrades but shows

less of a decrease at higher source powers (Figure 2-3, bottom). This is most likely a

result of the continued decrease in the self-bias at higher source power. This also leads to

a decrease in GaN etch rate above 500 W. The results of Figure 2-2 and 2-3 show that

both ion energy and ion flux are important in determining not only the GaN etch rate, but

also the amount of residual damage in the diodes.

As mentioned previously, past measurements on ICP damaged GaN surfaces have

established the damage depth as being of order 500 A. One method for trying to remove

the damaged material between the contacts is by oxidizing it by UV/ozone (03) exposure,

followed by stripping of the oxide. Figure 2-4 shows the dependence of VB and BB on UV

ozone treatment time. In each case after the oxidation, a 1:20, HCl: H20 solution was

used for removal of the oxidized material. While there is some improvement in both

parameters up to 5 min, there is no further improvement for longer times. We assume the

oxidation distance is diffusion-controlled (i.e. dependent on 17), and from preliminary

measurements we believe that only -30 A of GaN is oxidized and removed for 5 minute

UV ozone exposure. Therefore the process would have to be repeated approximately 15-

20 times to remove the damaged region of the GaN, assuming the oxidation rate remains











50 100 150 200







1800 E



1200 Z


rf Power (W)

Figure 2-2 rf chuck power dependence of VB and 6B in C12/Ar plasma
exposed GaN diodes (top) and of dc chuck self-bias and GaN
etch rate under the same conditions (bottom)

35 -

30 -

25 -


control V
. . . . . . . . . . . -B . . . . . . . . . . . .

control 4. --


0 5/



, I I

160 -

120 I

80 k

200 400

ICP Power (W)

Figure 2-3 ICP power dependence of VB and 6B in C12/Ar plasma exposed
GaN diodes (top) and of dc chuck self-bias and GaN etch rate
under the same conditions (bottom)



- 0.8




800 .c

600 Z


-*- etch rate

-0- dc bias







the same deeper into the material. Use of a stronger HC1 solution improves the VB value

compared to use of the 1:20 solution (Figure 2-5), but there is no improvement in 4B. We

emphasize that the damaged GaN is the exposed region outside the contact area. This will

lead to reductions in VB by increasing the surface conductivity and degrade 6B by incr

easing leakage current at the contact periphery.

Figure 2-6 shows the effect of anneal temperature on the recovery of VB and 4B.

There is a clear improvement in VB for anneals in the range 500-700 C, and little change

thereafter and it remains lower than the unetched control value. However, 4B changes

very little with annealing. These results are somewhat different than in the case where the

surface is exposed to the ICP discharge, annealed and then the Schottky contact is

deposited. For that sequence, essentially full recovery of the electrical characteristics was

obtained for 750 C annealing. In the present case where the contact is in place we

believe the metal begins to react with the GaN at -600 OC, accounting for the lack of

recovery of 6B at higher temperatures.

The effect of annealing time at fixed temperature (700 C) on VB and 4B is shown

in Figure 2-7. The improvement in both parameters is saturated beyond 60 secs. It would

be expected that the recovery mechanism should be most critically dependent on

temperature since most defect annealing processes involve dissociation and diffusion of

defects and their complexes. In this case, the recovery would be dependent on the square

root of annealing time and exponentially on temperature.

To establish the chemical state of the GaN surface at different stages, AES was

performed on an unmetallized sample. Figure 2-8 shows surface scans before (top) and

40 1 I I
control value (unetched)

30 O,+HCI (1 min)

20 -



control value (unetched)



<* ----*---*~

0 5 10 15 20

03 Time (min.)

Figure 2-4 UV ozone oxidation time dependence of VB (top) and 4B
(bottom) in C12/Ar plasma exposed GaN diodes. After
oxidation, the samples were rinsed in 1HCl: 20H20 for 1 min.






30 -

20 k

Sample No.

Figure 2-5 Dependence of VB (top) and B (bottom) on process condition in Cl2/Ar
plasma exposed GaN diodes. After UV ozone oxidation, the samples
were rinsed in 1HCl: 20H20 for 1 min or aqueous HCI (35-38%) for
30-60 seconds.

control value (unetched)
............................................................................................. .

control value (unetched)
. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . .

1: as etched
12 r\3 5 i\

0. %-v .1 ^_-
3: 03 (5min)+HCI (1:20, 1 min)

4: 03(5min.)+HCI(1:20, 1min.)
+HCI(35-38%, 30sec.)
5: 03 descum(5min.)+HCI(1:20, 1min.)


30 k


0.8 k

0.7 I








Anneal Temperature (C)

Figure 2-6 Annealing temperature dependence of VB (top) and 4B
(bottom) in Cl2/Ar plasma exposed GaN diodes. Anneal time
was 30 sec at each temperature.

control value (unetched)

30 sec anneal

as etched

Control value (unetched)

as etched
S......................... .
* -m

Control value (unetched)

700 C anneal

30- -

as etched



0.5 '



Anneal Time (min)

Figure 2-7 Annealing time dependence (at 700 OC) of VB (top) and 4B
(bottom) in C12/Ar plasma exposed GaN diodes.

-r -r -r -r I- -r

Control value (unetched)

as etched........................
as etched
I I - I -



after (lower) exposure to a 500 W source power, 50 W chuck power C12/Ar discharge.

The main change is a reduction in the N2 signal in the latter sample (by -20%),

confirming the preferential loss of this element during dry etching. Subsequent annealing

at 700 C in N2 restored some of this deficiency (Figure 2-8, bottom).

2.1.4 Summary and Conclusion

The main points of our study may be summarized as follows:

ICP Cl2/Ar discharges degrade the performance of GaN Schottky diodes,

with ion energy and ion flux both playing important roles.

UV ozone oxidation of the surface and subsequent dissolution of the

oxidized region in HC1 provides some restoration of the electrical

properties of the GaN.

Annealing at 700 to 750 C also restores some of the initial reverse

breakdown voltage characteristics, but little change in 4B for Pt/Au

contacts on GaN.

The degradation mechanism appears to be creation of a conducting, non-

stoichiometric (N2-deficient) near-surface region on the GaN.

2.2 Effect of N2 Inductively Coupled Plasma Discharge Treatment on n-AlGaN/GaN
Ohmic Contacts

2.2.1 Introduction
Both the dc and rf performance of AlGaN/GaN High Electron Mobility

Transistors (HEMTs) are strongly dependent on the specific contact resistance of the

source/drain contacts [68-77]. There have been four basic classes of metallization

employed for n-type ohmic contacts to GaN-based materials, namely Al [78-80], Ti or

5 N' Si

C Ga

0___ ,,,,0_,.___________

Figure 2-8 AES surface scans from GaN (top) or after (center) C12/Ar plasma
exposure, and subsequent annealing at 700 OC for 60 seconds

TiN [81-86], W or other refractory metals [87-90] or multilayers such as Ti/Al/Ni/Au

[91-93] which appear to give wider process windows by reducing oxidation of the Ti [91-

93]. Modifications to the GaN by high temperature annealing [94] or reactive ion etching

[91,95] to produce preferential loss of nitrogen can improve n-type ohmic contact

resistance by increasing electron concentration in the near-surface region. In all cases, the

best specific contact resistitity has been achieved after annealing the metallization at 900-

950 C [91,96,97].

We have previously found that exposure of n- or p- type GaN to high density

Inductively Coupled Plasmas (ICP) degrades the rectifying properties of subsequently

deposited Schottky contacts [98]. The degradation mechanism is loss of nitrogen, as

described above. To this point, there have been no investigation of the effect of ICP

exposure on the properties of n-type ohmic contacts, especially on HEMT structures

where the contact resistivity can be high due to presence of AlGaN donor and contact

layers. In this paper we report the results of a systematic study to understand the effect of

ion energy, ion flux and exposure time of N2 ICP discharges on the contact resistance of

Ti/Al/Pt/Au metallization on AlGaN/GaN HEMTs.

2.2.2 Experimental Methods

The AlGaN/GaN structures were grown by rf plasma activated Molecular Beam

Epitaxy on (0001) sapphire [99]. After nitridation of the surface, at low temperature, 300

A thick A1N buffer was grown, followed by a 1 |tm undoped GaN layer grown at 750 C

under Ga-rich growth conditions. This was followed with a 30 A undoped Alo.15Gao.s5N

spacer layer, 100A Alo.15Gao.s5N donor layer (Si-doped, n=1019 cm3) and a 100 A

undoped Alo.15Gao.85N cap layer. A schematic of the structure is shown in Figure 2-9.

Typical room temperature sheet electron densities were -3.5x1012 cm-2, with Hall

mobilities of-400 cm2 V1 sec-1 [96].

The N2 plasma exposures were carried out in a Plasma Therm 790 reactor, in

which the ion flux is controlled by a 1500 W ICP source operating at 2 MHz, and the ion

energy is controlled by rf power (13.56MHz) applied to the sample chuck. The N2 gas

was injected into the source at a total flow rate of 15 standard cubic centimeter per

minute and process pressure was held constant at 2 m Torr. After plasma exposure, e-

beam deposited Ti(200 A)/Al(800 A)/Pt(400 A)/Au(1500 A) was patterned by lift-off and

annealed under N2 in an AG associates Heatpulse 610T system. The specific contact

resistance was obtained from Transmission Line Method (TLM) measurement using gap

spacings of 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 |tm. In some cases the plasma exposed AlGaN/GaN

structures were examined by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Auger Electron

Spectroscopy(AES) for measurement of surface morphology and composition,


2.2.3 Results and Discussion

Figure 2-10 shows the measured contact resistances for the Ti/Al/Pt/Au

metallization on unexposed (control) samples, as a function of post-deposition annealing

temperature. We will use this data for comparison with the plasma-exposed samples.

Note that a value of 7x 103 -.cm2 was obtained for 950C annealing.

The effect of rf chuck power on contact resistance of the N2 plasma exposed

samples is shown in Figure 2-11. In this case the ICP source power was held constant at

300 W (equivalent to an ion flux of 4x 1016 cm-2.sec-1). The lowest contact resistances

were obtained for samples exposed at 40 W chuck power and subsequent annealed for

100 A Alo0.Gao.ssN cap layer

100 A Alo.1sGao.ssN donor layer, 1x1019 cm3

30 A Alo0.1Gao.ssN spacer layer

lp.m UID GaN buffer layer

300 A AIN buffer layer

a-Al203 Substrate

Figure 2-9 Schematic of AlGaN/GaN HEMT structure.


E 10

Anneal for 30 sec

eD 2
IZ 10-

10-31 1 1 1 1 1
0 200 400 600 800 1000
Anneal Temperature (oC)

Figure 2-10 Contact resistance for Ti/Al/Pt/Au metallization as a function of
annealing temperature for AlGaN/GaN structures not exposed to
N2 discharges prior to metal deposition.

30 sec at 950 OC, producing a value of 2x104 fQcm2. This is approximately a factor of

three improvement over contacts annealed at the same temperature on control samples.

The ion energy at this condition is roughly -125 eV, the sum of the dc self-bias(lower part

of Figure 3) and plasma potential (about -25 eV under these conditions).

We fixed the rf chuck power at 40 W and examined the effect of varying the ICP

source power during the plasma exposure (Figure 2-12). For annealing at 800 or 950 OC,

there is a broad minimum in contact resistance centered at 300 W source power. We

believe that at lower powers the ion flux is too low to produce efficient preferential loss

of the nitrogen, while at higher fluxes there are large concentrations of defects created

that degrade current transport in the AlGaN. Note that while flux increases with source

power, the ion energy decreases slightly due to the higher plasma conductivity.

The improvement in contact resistance saturated with exposure time, as shown in

Figure 2-13. This result is not unexpected, since part of the surface is removed by

sputtering during plasma exposure and the creation of an N2-deficient surface region will

come to an equilibrium condition. The plasma exposure did not roughen the AlGaN

surface, as shown by the AFM scans of Figure 2-14. The root-mean-square (RMS)

roughness of the controlled sample was 1.3 nm, compared to 1.0 nm for the sample

exposed to a 300 W source power, 40 W rf chuck power N2 discharge for 30 secs. It is

likely that at high chuck power, corresponding to high ion energies, surface roughening

should be more prevalent.

To confirm that the mechanism for the contact resistance improvement was loss

of nitrogen, we performed AES measurements. Surface scans before and after N2 plasma

exposure (300 W source power, 40 W rf chuck power, 30 sec) showed that the average

composition of N in the top 100 A of the surface dropped from 10% in the control sample

to 7.1% in the plasma exposed sample (Figure 2-15). Scanning electron microscopy of

the contact metallization showed good morphology and edge definition for both the

control and plasma exposed samples.

2.2.4.Summary and Conclusion
ICP N2 discharges were used to improve contact resistances on

AlGaN/GaNHEMT structures by inducing preferential loss of nitrogen from the near-


ICP Power: 300W


r ^^^^----^ o -O-

--- -As Deposited
S-0-- 800 C anneal (30 sec)
---- 950 C anneal (30 sec)

10 20 30 40 50 60
rf Power (W)

Figure 2-11

Contact resistance for Ti/Al/Pt/Au metallization as a function of rf
chuck power for AlGaN/GaN structures exposed to ICP N2
discharges prior to metal deposition, for several annealing
temperatures (top) and dc self-bias as a function of rf power (bottom).





r T T T T

ICP Power: 300W





120 -

80 I

40 F

200 400 600


ICP Power (W)

Figure 2-12 Contact resistance for Ti/Al/Pt/Au metallization as a function of
ICP power for AlGaN/GaN structures exposed to ICP N2 discharges
prior to metal deposition, for two annealing temperatures (top) and
dc self-bias as a function of ICP power (bottom).




rf Power: 40W


--- 800 C anneal (30 sec) .
--- 950 C anneal (30 sec)

rf Power: 40W

10 1 I

S Exposure Conditions: 30W rf, 400W ICP

0 0 m20 10 m0 81n


1 -E-4 -*-As Deposited
--0- 800 C anneal (30 sec)
E -5-- 950 ,C anneal (30 sec)
0 20 40 60 80 100
Exposure Time (sec)

Fig. 2-13 Contact resistance for Ti/Al/Pt/Au metallization as a function of
exposure prior to ICP N2 discharges for AlGaN/GaN structures
annealed at several different temperatures.

surface 100 A) region. The N2 plasma chemistry is a good choice for this application,

since it produces light ions (N2+, N) for bombardment of the AlGaN surface that do not

create heavy lattice disorder and associated trapping states that could degrade current

transport in the semiconductor. It also avoids the chemical effects of H2 or 02 discharges

on the AlGaN surface. Under optimized conditions, the contact resistance of Ti/Al/Pt/Au

metallization deposited on the plasma exposed samples and subsequently annealed at 950

C was lowered by a factor of 3 relative to unexposed contact samples annealed in the

same fashion. This is a simple and effective method for reducing ohmic contact resistance

on AlGaN/GaN HEMTs.

. ... ...................
...... ....... .......

..... ..

:. ......... ....
::. ~. .... ..... :. .
..... ;:::::.,......-.. :..".... ... ..
i ...~~. = : ".,,,,,,.,..............

:.... ..... ..:. ...

Figure 2-14 Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) scans of AlGaN/GaN

structure before (top) and after (bottom) exposure to an ICP N2

discharge (300 W source power, 40 W rf chuck power, 30 secs).

.. .... ..

........ "::

.. _.. ... ..

: .... ",,....

..... ....

.. ..... :::.. .-


..... .............
.......... ...........
.... ......
............ ............. ...
....... . . .
..... .. .....


4 Ga


0 -I I I I I I I I
200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000



4 N


200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000

Figure 2-15 Auger Eelectron Spectroscopy (AES) surface scans of
AlGaN/GaN structure before (top) and after (bottom) exposure to
an ICP N2 discharge (300 W source power, 40 W rf chuck power,
30 secs).


3.1 Introduction

There is a strong interest in developing wide bandgap power devices for use in the

electric power utility industry [3, 100-102]. With the onset of deregulation in the

industry, there will be increasing numbers of transactions on the power grid in the US,

with different companies buying and selling power. The main applications are in the

primary distribution system (100-2000 kVA) and in subsidiary transmission systems

(1-50 MVA). A major problem in the current grid is commentary voltage sags, which

affect motor drives, computers and digital controls. Therefore, a system for eliminating

power sags and switching transients would dramatically improve power quality. For

example it is estimated that a 2-second outage at a large computer center can cost US$

600,000 or more, and an outage of less than one cycle, or a voltage sag of 25% for two

cycles, can cause a microprocessor to malfunction. In particular, computerized

technologies have led to strong consumer demands for less expensive electricity,

premium quality power and uninterruptible power.

The basic power electronics hierarchy would include the use of widegap devices

such as Gate Turn-Off Thyristors (GTOs), MOS-Controlled Thyristors (MCT) or

Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) combined with appropriate packaging and

thermal management techniques to make subsystems (such as switches, rectifiers or

adjustable speed devices) which then comprise a system such as Flexible AC

Transmissions (FACTS). Common power electronics systems, which are inserted

between the incoming power and the electrical load include uninterruptible power

supplies, advanced motors, adjustable speed drives and motor controls, switching power

supplies, solid-state circuit breakers and power conditioning equipment. About 50% of

the electricity in the US is consumed by motors. Motor repairs cost -US$ 5 billion each

year and could be dramatically reduced by high power electronic devices that permit

smoother switching and control. Moreover, control electronics could dramatically

improve motor efficiency. Other end uses include lighting, computers, heating and air-


Some desirable attributes of next generation, widegap power electronics include

the ability to withstand currents in excess of 5 kA and voltages in excess of 50 kV,

provide rapid switching, maintain good thermal stability while operating at temperatures

above 250 C, have small size and light-weight, and be able to function without bulky

heat-dissipating systems.

The primary limits of Si-based power electronics are as follows:

Maximum voltage ratings <7 kV

Multiple devices must be placed in series for high-voltage systems.

Insufficient current-carrying capacity

Multiple devices must be placed in parallel for typical power grid


Conductivity in one direction only

Identical pairs of devices must be installed in anti-parallel for switchable


Inadequate thermal management

Heat damage is a primary cause of failure and expense.

High initial cost

Applications are limited to the highest-value settings.

Large and heavy components

Costs are high for installation and servicing, and equipment is unsuitable for

many customers.

For these reasons, there is a strong development effort on widegap power devices,

predominantly SiC, with lesser efforts in GaN and diamond, which should have benefits

that Si-based or electromechanical power electronics cannot attain. The higher standoff

voltages should eliminate the need for series stacking of devices and the associated

packaging difficulties. In addition these widegap devices should have higher switching

frequency in pulse-width-modulated rectifiers and inverters.

The absence of Si devices capable of application to 13.8 kV distribution lines (a

common primary distribution mode) opens a major opportunity for widegap electronics.

However, cost will be an issue, with values of US$ 200-2000 per kVA necessary to have

an impact. It is virtually certain that SiC switches will become commercially available

within 3-5 years, and begin to be applied to the 13.8 kV lines. MOS Turn-Off-Thyristors

involving a SiC GTO and SiC MOSFETare a promising approach [103]. An inverter

module can be constructed from an MOS turn-off thyristor (MTO) and a SiC power


Packaging and thermal management will be a key part of future power devices.

For current Si IGBTs, there are two basic package types the first is a standard attached

die, wire bond package utilizing soft-solder and wire-bonds as contacts, while the second

is the presspack, which employs dry-pressed contacts for both electrical and thermal

paths [104,105]. In the classical package the IGBTs and control diodes are soldered onto

ceramic substrates, such as A1N, which provide electrical insulation, and this in turn is

mounted to a heat sink (typically Cu). Thick Al wires (500 mm) are used for electrical

connections, while silicone gel fills the package [104]. In the newer presspack style, the

IGBT and diode are clamped between Cu electrodes, buffered by materials such as

molybdenum or composites [105], whose purpose is to account for the thermal expansion

coefficient differences between Si and Cu. The package is again filled with gel for

electrical insulation and corrosion resistance.

3.2 Gallium Nitride Schottky Rectifiers with 3.1 kV Reverse Breakdown Voltage

The GaN materials system is attractive from the viewpoint of fabricating unipolar

power devices because of its large bandgap and relatively high electron mobility [106-

109]. An example is the use of Schottky diodes as high-voltage rectifiers in power

switching applications [106-108, 8]. These diodes will have lower blocking voltages than

p-i-n rectifiers, but have advantages in terms of switching speed and lower forward

voltage drop. Edge termination techniques such as, field rings on filed plates, bevels or

surface ion implantation are relatively well-developed for Si and SiC and maximize the

high voltage blocking capability by avoiding sharp field distributions within the device.

However, in the few GaN Schottky diode rectifiers reported to date [106, 107], there has

been little effort made on developing edge termination techniques. Proper design of the


I 105


m 10

| 10,

1013 1014 1015 1016 1017

Drift Region Doping Concentration (cm )

Sundoped-GaN n

Schottky Metal Ohmic Metal

Figure 3-1 The calculation of reverse breakdown volatge as a function of
doping concentration and standoff region thickness based on a
punch-through model.

'- o GaN Schottky Diode
Avalanche Breakdown

100 Lm
50 im
20m m

I I"" I '" "


edge termination is critical both for obtaining a high breakdown voltage and reducing the

on-state voltage drop and switching time.

Based on the punch through model, Figure 3-1 shows a plot of avalanche and

punch through breakdown of GaN Schottky diodes calculated as a function of doping

concentration and standoff layer thickness. It can be seen that 20 kV device may be

obtained with -100 |tm thick GaN layer with doping concentration <1015 cm3.

In this chapter we investigate on the effect of various edge termination techniques

on the reverse breakdown voltage, VB, of planar GaN Schottky diodes which deplete in

the lateral direction. A maximum VB of 3.1 kV at 250C was achieved with optimized edge

termination, which is a record for GaN devices. We also examined the temperature

dependence of VB in mesa diodes and found a negative temperature coefficient of this

parameter in these structures.

The GaN was grown on c-plane A1203 substrates by MOCVD using

trimethylgallium and ammonia as the precursors. To create a Schottky rectifier with high

breakdown voltage, one needs a thick, very pure GaN depletion layer. Figure 3-2 shows

SIMS profile of H and other background impurities in a 2 |tm thick, high resistivity (107

Q-cm) GaN layer grown by MOCVD. The reverse breakdown voltage of simple Schottky

rectifiers fabricated on this material was > 2 kV, a record for GaN. Notice that in this

material the hydrogen concentration is at the detection sensitivity of the SIMS apparatus.

The amount of hydrogen present in GaN after cooldown from the growth temperature

will depend on the number of sites to which it can bond, including dopants and point and

line defects. In the absence of p-type doping, it is clear that the number of these sites is <

8x107 cm-3 under our growth conditions.

1E+22 1E+07

Schottky Rectifier

0 -1E+06

-3 1--1E+05
^ 1E+20 -

Z GaN (counts)-> uJ
S 1E+19 Z
o5 11 I-

S1E+03 0
O Si
Z 1E+18
o 1E+02 0

1 E+01

1E+16 1E+00
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
DEPTH (microns)

Figure 3-2. SIMS profiles ofH and other background impurities in as-
grown, MOCVD Schottky rectifier structure.

For vertically-depleting devices, the structure consisted of a 1 |tm n+(3 x 108 cm3,

Si-doped) contact layer, followed by undoped (n-2.5x1016 cm-3) blocking layers which

ranged from 3 to 11 tm thick. These samples were formed into mesa diodes using ICP

etching with C12/Ar discharges (300 W source power, 40 W rf chuck power). The dc self-

bias during etching was -85 V. To remove residual dry etch damage, the samples were

annealed under N2 at 800 oC for 30 s. Ohmic contacts were formed by lift-off of e-beam

evaporated Ti/Al, annealed at 700 oC for 30 s under N2 to minimize the contact

resistance. Finally, the rectifying contacts were formed by lift-off of e-beam evaporated

Pt/Au. Contact diameters of 60-1100 |tm were examined.

For laterally depleting devices, the structure consisted of 3 |tm of resistive (107

Q/0) GaN. To form Ohmic contacts, Si+ was implanted at 5 x1014 cm-2, 50 keV into the

contact region and activated by annealing at 150 OC for 10 s under N2. The Ohmic and

rectifying contact metallization was the same as described above.

Three different edge termination techniques were investigated for the planar


1. Use of a p-guard ring formed by Mg' implantation at the edge of the Schottky

barrier metal. In these diodes the rectifying contact diameter was held constant at

124 |tm, while the distance of the edge of this contact from the edge of the Ohmic

contact was 30 |tm in all cases.

2. Use of p-floating field rings of width 5 mm to extend the depletion boundary

along the surface of the SiO2 dielectric, which reduces the electric field crowding

at the edge of this boundary. In these structures a 10 [m wide p-guard ring was

used, and one to three floating field rings employed.

3. Use of junction barrier controlled Schottky (JBS) rectifiers, i.e., a Schottky

rectifier structure with a p-n junction grid integrated into its drift region.

In all of the edge-terminated devices the Schottky barrier metal was extended over

an oxide layer at the edge to further minimize field crowding, and the guard and field

rings formed by Mg+ implantation and 1100 C annealing.

Figure 3-3 shows a schematic of the planar diodes fabricated with the p-guard

rings, while the lower portion of the figure shows the influence of guard ring width on


Schottky Metal

p -implant

3p1m undoped GaN

400 A GaN buffer layer



Sapphire substrate

Figure 3-3 GaN power rectifiers with p-guard ring for edge terminations.





0 .0 .........



-2000 0

Voltage (V)




2000 L

10 20 30

Guard Ring Width ([im)

Figure 3-4 Current-Voltage characteristics of GaN power rectifiers with p-
guard ring for edge terminations (top), and effect of p-guard ring
on the reverse breakdown voltage of GaN power rectifiers

Schottky Contact


3 am undoped GaN


400 A GaN buffer layer

Sapphire substrate

Figure 3-5 GaN power rectifiers with floating-field ring for edge terminations.






g 2000 1 1
0 10 20 30

Guard Ring Width (pLm)

Figure 3-6 Effect of floating field ring on the reverse breakdown voltage of
GaN power rectifiers.





Edge Terminations

Effect of Junction Barrier Control on the reverse breakdown
voltage of GaN power rectifiers.




- without junction barrier control
-*-with junction barrier control
1 1Opm guard ring + 1 float field ring
2 10pm guard ring + 2 float field rings
3 10pm guard ring + 3 float field rings


lO0mu guard ring without junction barrier control

0^ --

Figure 3-7

Schottky Contact


Ohmic contact


3 pm undoped GaN

400A GaN buffer layer

Sapphire substrate

Figure 3-8 GaN power rectifiers with Junction Barrier Control.

VB at 25 oC. Without any edge termination, VB is -2300 V for these diodes. The forward

turn-on voltage was in the range 15-50 V, with a best on-resistance of 0.8 Q cm2. The

figure-of-merit (VB)2/RoN was 6.8 MW/cm2. As the guard-ring width was increased, we

observed a monotonic increase in VB, reaching a value of -3100 V for 30 [m wide rings

(Figure 3-4). The figure-of-merit was 15.5 MW/cm2 under these conditions. The reverse

leakage current of the diodes was still in the nA range at voltages up to 90% of the

breakdown value.

Figure 3-5 shows a schematic of the floating field ring structures, while Figure 3-6

shows the effect of different edge termination combinations on the resulting VB at 25 oC.

Note that the addition of the floating field rings to a guard ring structure further improves

VB, with the improvement saturating for a three-floating field ring geometry.

Figure 3-7 shows the effect of the junction barrier control on VB, together with a

schematic of the p-n junction grid in Figure 3-8. In our particular structure we found that

junction barrier control slightly degraded VB relative to devices with guard rings and

various numbers of floating field rings. We believe that with optimum design of the grid

structure we should achieve higher VB values and that the current design allows Schottky

barrier lowering since the depletion regions around each section of the grid do not

completely overlap. This is consistent with the fact that we did not observe the decrease

in forward turn-on voltage expected for JBS rectifiers relative to conventional Schottky


The results of Figures 3-3 to 3-6 are convincing evidence that proper design and

implementation of edge termination methods can significantly increase reverse

breakdown voltage in GaN diode rectifiers and will play an important role in applications

at the very highest power levels. For example, the target goals for devices, intended to be

used for transmission and distribution of electric power or in single-pulse switching in the

subsystem of hybrid-electric contact vehicles are 25 kV standoff voltage, 2 kA

conducting current and a forward voltage drop <2% of the standoff voltage. At these

power levels, it is expected that edge termination techniques will be essential for

reproducible operation.

The devices designed for vertical depletion had lower on-state voltages than the

lateral diodes, due to the fact that a highly-doped n+ contact layer can be included in the

epitaxial structure, obviating the need for implantation. However, we have not yet

perfected the ability to grow resistive GaN on top of conducting GaN and, therefore, the

depletion layers in the vertical devices typically had lightly n-type conductivity (2x 1016

to 5x10 16 cm-3). The typical on-state resistances were 6-10 m Q cm2, with reverse

breakdown voltages at 25 C of 200-550 V (depending on doping level and layer

thickness). The maximum figure-of-merit in these devices was higher than for the planar

diodes, reaching values as high as 48 MW/cm2.

In summary, GaN Schottky diodes with vertical and lateral geometries were

fabricated. A reverse breakdown voltage of 3.1 kV was achieved on a lateral device

incorporating p-type guard rings. Several types of edge termination were examined, with

floating field rings and guard rings found to increase VB. The best on-state resistance

obtained in these lateral devices was 0.8 Q-cm2. In mesa diodes incorporating n+ contact

layers, the best on-state resistance was 6 m Q-cm2, while VB values were in the range

200-550 V. These GaN rectifiers show promise for high power electronics applications.

3.3 Aluminum Gallium Nitride (AIGaN) Schottky Rectifiers with 4.1 kV Reverse

Breakdown Volatge

3.3.1 Introduction

There is a strong interest in developing high current, high voltage switches in the

AlGaN materials system for applications in the transmission and distribution of electric

power and in the electrical subsystems of emerging vehicle, ship, and aircraft technology

[108, 110, 111]. It is expected that packaged switches made from AlGaN may operate at

temperatures in excess of 250 C without liquid cooling, therefore reducing system

complexity, weight, and cost. In terms of voltage requirements, there is a strong need for

power quality enhancement in the 13.8 kV class, while it is estimated that availability of

20-25 kV switches in a single unit would cause a sharp drop in the cost of power flow

control circuits. Schottky and p-i-n rectifiers are an attractive vehicle for demonstrating

the high-voltage performance of different materials systems, and blocking voltages from

3-5.9 kV have been reported in SiC devices [112-114]. The reverse leakage current in

Schottky rectifiers is generally far higher than expected from thermionic emission, most

likely due to defect states around the contact periphery [112]. To reduce this leakage

current and prevent breakdown by surface flashover, edge termination techniques such as

guard rings, field plates, beveling, or surface ion implantation are necessary [115,116,3].

However, in the GaN rectifiers reported so far, there has been little effort in employing

edge termination methods and no investigation of the effect of increasing the band gap by

use of AlGaN.

We study on the reverse breakdown voltage (VRB) of AlGaN Schottky rectifiers

for different Al compositions (0-0.25) and on the effect of various edge termination

techniques in suppressing premature edge breakdown. A maximum VRB of 4.3 kV was

achieved for Al0.25Ga0.75N diodes, with very low reverse current densities. At low reverse

biases the rectifiers typically show currents which are proportional to the contact

perimeter, whereas at higher biases the current is proportional to contact area. The

forward current characteristics show ideality factors of 2 at low bias (Shockley-Read-

Hall recombination) and 1.5 at higher voltage (diffusion current).

3.3.2 Experimental Methods

The undoped AlxGa- xN layers were grown by atmospheric pressure

metalorganic chemical vapor deposition at 1040 OC (pure GaN) or 1100 C (AlGaN) on

(0001) oriented sapphire substrates. The precursors were trimethylgallium,

trimethylgaluminum, and ammonia, with H2 used as a carrier gas. The growth was

performed on either GaN (in the case of GaN active layers) or A1N (in the case of AlGaN

active layers) low temperature buffers with nominal thicknesses of 200 A. The active

layer thickness was -2.5 .im in all cases and the resistivity of these films was of order 107

Q-cm [117]. To form ohmic contacts in some cases, Si + was implanted at 5x1014 cm2,

50 keV into the contact region and activated by annealing at 1150 OC for 10 s under N2.

The contacts were then formed by lift off of e-beam evaporated Ti/Al/Pt/Au annealed at

700 C for 30 s under N2. The rectifying contacts were formed by lift off of e-beam

evaporated Pt/Ti/Au (diameter 60-1100pm). A schematic of the planar diodes is shown

in Figure 3-9. The devices were tested at room temperature under a Fluorinert ambient.

On the GaN diodes, we also examined the use of three different edge termination

methods, namely p-guard rings formed by Mg + implantation at the edge of the rectifying

contact, use of p-type floating field rings of width 5 im to extend the depletion boundary

along the edge of a SiO2 passivation layer and finally, use of junction barrier controlled

Schottky rectifiers (a rectifier with integrated p-n junction grid in its drift region). In all

of these edge-terminated diodes the Schottky metal was extended over a SiO2 layer at the

edge to minimize field crowding.

3.3.3 Results and Discussion

Figure 3-10 shows current-voltage (I-V) characteristics from two different

diodes. The GaN device employed 30 [m wide p-guard rings. This was found to be the

most effective edge termination method for these structures, producing an increase in VRB

of -800 V over devices without any passivation or edge termination, i.e., breakdown

occurred at 2.3 kV in the control diodes and 3.1 kV in devices with guard rings. The use

of guard rings or floating field rings each produced improvements in VRB over the control

diodes, with increases in the range 200-800 V. By sharp contrast, junction barrier control

was unsuccessful in our structures, leading to decreases in VRB of 300-400 V. We believe

this is due to Schottky barrier lowering because of the depletion regions around each

section of the grid not completely overlapping in our initial design. The best on resistance

(RON) achieved for GaN diodes was 0.8 Q-cm2, producing a figure-of-merit (VRB)2/RoN

of 15.5 MW-cm 2. Figure 3-10 also shows an I-V characteristic from an Al0.25Ga0.75N

rectifier, without any edge termination or surface passivation. In this case VRB was 4.3

kV, which is far in excess of the values reported previously for GaN rectifiers, i.e., 350-

450 V [116,117]. The on resistance of the AlGaN diodes was higher than for pure GaN,

due to higher ohmic contract resistance. The lowest RON achieved was 3.2 Q-cm2, leading

to a figure-of-merit of-5.5 MW cm2.

Figure 3-11 shows the variation of VRB with Al percentage in the AlGaN active


2.5 gm undoped AlxGal-xN

200A A1N buffer layer

A1203 substrate

Figure 3-9 Schematic of AlGaN power rectifiers without edge termination.






-4000 -3000 -2000 -1000 0

Voltage (V)

Figure 3-10 Room temperature I- Vcharacteristics from an
Al.25Gao.75N rectifier.



layers of the rectifiers. In this case we are using the VRB values from diodes without any

edge termination or surface passivation. The calculated band gaps as a function of Al

composition are also shown, and were obtained from the relation:

E, (x)= Eg,GaN ( ) + Eg,AlN x-bx( -x) 3-1

where x is the A1N mole fraction and b is the bowing parameter with value 0.96 eV

[118]. Note that VRB does not increase in linear fashion with band gap. In a simple

theory, VRB should increase as (Eg)15, but it has been empirically established that factors

such as impact ionization coefficients and other transport parameters need to be

considered and that consideration of Eg alone is not sufficient to explain measured VRB

behavior. The fact that VRB increases less rapidly with Eg at higher A1N mole fractions

may indicate increasing concentrations of defects that influence the critical field for


The reverse I-V characteristics of all of the rectifiers showed I ac V05 over a

broad range of voltage (50-2000 V), indicating that Shockley-Read-Hall recombination

is the dominant transport mechanism. The current density in all devices was in the range

5-10x 10-6 A cm 2 at 2 kV. At low biases (25 V) the reverse current was proportional to

the perimeter of the rectifying contact, suggesting that surface contributions are the most

important in this voltage range. For higher biases, the current was proportional to the area

of the rectifying contact. Under these conditions, the main contribution to the reverse

current is from under this contact, i.e., from the bulk of the material. It is likely that the

high defect density in heteroepitaxial GaN is a primary cause of this current. The forward

I-V characteristics showed that the current density was proportional to exp(-eV/2kT) at

lowest voltages (up to current densities of -5 x 10-4 A cm 2) and to exp(-eV/1.5kT) at

> 5000 4.0


0 ,
> 4000 -3.8

o 0
r 3000 3.6

S 2000 3.4
0 10 20 30

Percentage of Al in AIxGal.xN (%)

Figure 3-11 Variation of VRB in AlxGal-xN rectifiers without edge
termination, as a function of Al concentration. The Band
gaps for the AlGaN alloys are also shown.

higher voltages (current densities in the range 103-1.5x102 A cm2). These results are

consistent with Shockley-Read-Hall recombination as the dominant mechanism at low

bias, followed by diffusion current at higher voltage. Qualitatively similar behavior has

been reported previously for SiC Schottky rectifiers.

When pushed beyond breakdown, the diodes invariably failed at the edges of the

rectifying contact, as shown in Figure 3-12. As described earlier, the use of metal field

plate contact geometries with SiO2 as the insulator and either guard rings or floating field

rings significantly increased VB. These rectifiers generally did not suffer irreversible

damage to the contact upon reaching breakdown and could be re-measured many times.

Figure 3-12 Scanning electron microscopy micrographs of AlGaN
rectifiers before (top) and after (bottom) pushing the
applied bias beyond the value for breakdown.

3.3.4 Summary

In summary, Schottky rectifiers on high resistivity AlxGal-x N epi layers

produced reverse breakdown voltages up to 4.3 kV for A10.25Ga0.75N diodes without edge

termination. The current transport mechanisms were investigated as a function of bias

voltage, with Shockley-Read-Hall recombination being dominant over a broad range of

conditions. Minimizing electric field crowding at the covers of the rectifying contact was

effective in increasing the breakdown voltage. The AlGaN materials system appears

promising for high voltage applications.

3.4 Temperature Dependence and Current Transport Mechanisms in AlxGal-xN
Schottky Rectifiers

3.4.1 Introduction

P-i-n rectifiers are expected to have larger reverse blocking voltages than

Schottky rectifiers, but inferior switching speeds and higher forward turn-on voltages.

GaN Schottky rectifiers with reverse breakdown voltage (VRB) to 3.1 kV have been

demonstrated when p+ guard rings and metal overlap onto a dielectric are employed as

edge termination techniques. Use of Al.25Ga0.75N instead of GaN produced VRB values

up to 4.3 kV.

Since this type of device is intended for elevated temperature operation, there is a

need to understand the current transport mechanisms, the origin of the reverse leakage

current and the magnitude and sign of the temperature coefficient for VRB. In this section

all of these properties are investigated. Over a broad range of voltages, the reverse

leakage current is proportional to the diameter of the rectifying contact indicating that

surface periphery leakage is the dominant contributor. The temperature coefficient for

VRB was found to be negative for both GaN and AlGaN, even in edge-terminated devices.

3.4.2 Results and Discussion

The GaN and A10.25Ga0.75N layers were found to be resistive (-107 cm). Each

was grown on c-plane Al203 substrates by metal organic chemical vapor deposition using

conventional precursors and growth temperatures of 1040 (GaN) or 1100 C

(Al0.25Ga0.75N). The layer thicknesses were 2.5-3 jm. Schematics of the completed

rectifiers are shown in Fig. 3-13. The GaN devices employed p+ guard rings formed (7

jlm wide) by Mg/P+ implantation, n source/drain region formed by Si implantation

(annealing was performed at 1150 OC for 10 s under N2) and overlap of the rectifying

contact onto a Si02 passivation layer. The AlGaN devices did not use any edge

termination techniques. The contacts on all rectifiers were formed by lift-off, with the

ohmic metallization annealed at 700 OC for 30 s under N2. The rectifying contact

diameters were 45-125 jim with a separation of 124 jim between these contacts and the

ohmic contacts.

Current-voltage (I-V) characteristics from both types of rectifiers are shown in

Figure 3-14 as a function of measurement temperature. The most obvious feature of the

data is that there is a negative temperature coefficient for VRB. The only previous

information for GaN-based devices comes from GaN/AlGaN heterostructure field effect

transistors in which a value of +0.33 V-K 1 was found [119], and from linearly graded

GaN p+pn+ junctions, in which a value of +0.02 V K 1 was determined [109]. In both

cases the VRB values were more than an order of magnitude lower than in the present


Figure 3-15 shows the variation of VRB with temperature. The data can be

represented by a relation of the form:

VR = VRB [1+P(T-T,)] 3-2

where = -6.0+0.4 V K 1 for both types of rectifiers. However, in Schottky and p-i-n

rectifiers we have fabricated on more conducting GaN, with VRB values in the 400-500 V

range, the values were consistently around -0.34 V K1. Therefore, in present state-of-

the-art GaN rectifiers, the temperature coefficient of VRB appears to be a function of the

magnitude of VRB. Regardless of the origin of this effect, it is clearly a disadvantage for

GaN. While SiC is reported to have a positive temperature coefficient for VRB there are

reports of rectifiers that display negative 3 values [120]. One may speculate that

particular defects present may dominate the sign and magnitude of 3, and it will be

interesting to fabricate GaN rectifiers on bulk or quasibulk substrates with defect

densities far lower than in heteroepitaxial material.

The forward turn-on voltage VF of a Schottky rectifier can be written as

nkT J 3-3
VF= ( )+ nB + RON JF
e AT2

where n is the ideality factor, k is Boltzmann's constant, T is the absolute sample

temperature, e the electronic charge, JF the forward current density (usually taken to be

100 A cm 2) at VF, A** the Richardson constant, 4B the barrier height (-1.1 eV in this

case), and RON the on-state resistance. The typical best VF values were -5 V for GaN




n -implant

3 gm undoped GaN

400A GaN buffer layer

a-A1203 substrate

Ti/Al/Pt/Au Pt/Ti/A Ti/Al/Pt/Au

2.5 gm undoped AlxGalxN

200A AiN buffer

a-A1203 substrate

Figure 3-13 Schematic of GaN (top) and AlGaN (bottom) rectifiers. The
GaN devices employ several edge termination techniques.












Voltage (V)

-5000 -4000 -3000 -2000 -1000

Voltage (V)

Figure 3-14 I V characteristics as a function of temperature for GaN
(top) and AlGaN (bottom) rectifiers.




GaN Rectifier
25 OC
-o100 C
150 C

0 I







4000 -


2000 -

1000 GaN (edge terminated)
Al10.25Ga0.25N (unterminated)

0-- I I
0 50 100 150 200

Temperature (C)

Figure 3-15 Temperature dependence of V RB for GaN and AlGaN rectifiers.

and -7.5 V for Al0.25Ga0.75N, with best RON values of 50 and 75 mQ cm2, respectively.

The ideality factors derived from the forward I-V characteristic were typically -2 for

both GaN and Al0.25Ga0.75N for biases up to -2/3 of VF. This is consistent with

recombination being the dominant current transport in this bias range. At high voltages, n

was typically -1.5 for both types of rectifiers, indicating that diffusion currents were

dominant. Beyond -2xVF, series resistance effects controlled the current. This behavior

is often reported for SiC junction rectifiers, while Schottky rectifiers in that materials

system show ideality factors of 1.1-1.4. In our GaN devices, the higher ideality factors

may reflect the high compensation levels in the material.

Figure 3-17 shows the reverse current (IR) at -100 V reverse bias for GaN and

AlGaN rectifiers of different contact diameter, for three different measurement

temperatures. Since IR oc contact diameter, this indicates that under these conditions the

reverse current originates from surface periphery leakage. Similar results were obtained

for the GaN rectifiers as shown in Figure 3-16. The activation energy for this periphery

leakage was -0.13 eV, which may represent the most prominent surface state giving rise

to the current. At voltages approximately 90% of the breakdown values, the reverse

current was proportional to contact area, indicating that bulk leakage is dominant under

these conditions.

3.4.3 Conclusion and Summary

In conclusion, the temperature dependence of VRB has been measured in high

breakdown GaN and AlGaN Schottky rectifiers. The temperature coefficient is negative,

which is a significant disadvantage for devices intended for high temperature operation,

and there are indications that it is a function of VRB. The forward current conduction

makes a transition from recombination to diffusion currents. The reverse leakage current

originates from surface components around the rectifying contact at modest voltages.

This current is thermally activated with an energy of 0.13 eV. The yield of acceptable

devices (i.e., with VRB at least 90% of the maximum found on a wafer and RON within

50% of the best values obtained) was rather small (-15%), so there is still much

1x10 8

Area/Perimeter (prm)

Figure 3-16 Reverse current at -100 V bias for AlGaN rectifiers
measured at three different temperatures.


GaN Rectifier

25C, 1.21x104 cm-2

i D 1.35

GaN Rectifier

100C, 1.21x10 '4 cm-2

GaN Rectifier

S150C, 1.21x104 cm -

Ri~D 135
Ilu RI D

5x10 "


2x 10-8

1x10 8

6x 10-8


2x 10-8









Al 2Ga .7N Rectifier

25C, 1.21x10-4 cm-2


AIl 0Ga. N Rectifier

100C, 1.21x1O4 cm-2
I ~D11

AIl .Ga7 N Rectifier

150C, 1.21x10-4 cm'2
I ~D1.2

Area/Peri meter(nm)

Figure 3-17 Reverse current at -100 V bias for AlGaN rectifiers
measured at three different temperatures.



development needed on both materials and processing.

3.5 Lateral AlxGa-_xN Power Rectifiers with 9.7 kV Reverse Breakdown Voltage

3.5.1 Introduction

There have been advances in developing GaN and AlGaN power rectifiers which

are key components of inverter modules for power flow control circuits. Vertical

geometry GaN Schottky rectifiers fabricated on conducting materials typically show

reverse breakdown voltages (VB) 750 V whereas lateral devices on insulating GaN and

AlGaN have VB values up to 4.3 kV.

Since the predicted breakdown field strength in GaN is of order 2-3 x 106 V-cm1

[121, 110], there appears to be much room for improvement in rectifier performance and

a need to understand the origin of reverse leakage currents, breakdown mechanisms, and

the effect of contact spacing on VB. In this letter we report on the variation of VB with

Schottky-to-ohmic contact gap spacing in AlxGal xN diodes (x = 0-0.25) employing p-

guard rings and extension of the Schottky contact edge over an oxide layer for edge

termination. VB values up to 9700 kV were achieved for Al0.25Ga0.75N rectifiers, with

breakdown still occurring at the edges of the Schottky contact. The reverse leakage

current just before breakdown is dominated by bulk contributions, scaling with the area

of the rectifying contact.

3.5.2 Experimental Methods

The rectifiers were fabricated on resistive (-107 Qcm) layers of 2.5-3 itm thick

GaN or AlGaN grown on c-plane A1203 substrates at 1040-1100 C by metalorganic

chemical vapor deposition. To create n regions for ohmic contacts, Si+ ions were

implanted at 5x 1014 cm2, 50 keV, and activated by annealing at 1150 OC for 10 s under

N2. It is important to control both the heating and cooling rates to avoid cracking of the

AlGaN layer. Mg+ implantation at 5x 1014 cm2, 50 keV was used to create 30 [im

diameter p-guard rings at the edge of the Schottky barrier metal. The rectifying contact

diameter was 124 [im in most cases, while the distance of this contact from the edge of

the ohmic contact was varied from 30-100 im. The Schottky metal was extended over a

SiO2 layer deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition in order to minimize

field crowding. Ohmic contacts were created by lift off of e-beam evaporated Ti/Al/Pt/Au

annealed at 750 C for 30 s under N2. The Schottky contacts were formed by lift off of e-

beam evaporated Pt/Ti/Au. A schematic of the completed rectifiers is shown in Fig. 3-18.

Current-voltage (I-V) characteristics were recorded on a HP4145 parameter analyzer,

with all testing performed at room temperature under a Fluorinert ambient.

3.5.3 Results and Discussion
Figure 3-19 shows the measured VB values for GaN and Al0.25Ga0.75N rectifiers as

a function of the gap spacing between the rectifying and ohmic contacts. For gaps

between 40 and 100 rim, VB is essentially linearly dependent on the spacing, with slopes

of 6.35x105 V.cm-1 for Al0.25Ga0.75N and 4.0x105 V.cm-1 for GaN. We assume the

deviation from these values at shorter spacing is due to the fact that the p-guard ring

almost covers this region. In vertical geometry diodes VB is related to the maximum

electric field strength at breakdown EM, through the relation [108]:

V = EW /2 34
B rM" B


2.5-3 Lim undoped AlxGal_

200A AIN buffer

A1203 substrate

Figure 3-18


Schematic of lateral geometry AlGaN rectifiers
using edge termination.

80Al Ga N
0 25 0 75
8000 -

6000 k

4000 k

20 40 60 80 100
Gaps between Schottky and Ohmic Metals (pm)

Figure 3-19 Effect of Schottky-ohmic contact gap spacing on
VB for GaN and Al0.25Ga.75N rectifiers.




where WB is the depletion width at breakdown. In our laterally depleting devices the

surface quality will dominate the onset of breakdown, which is reflected in the lower

breakdown field observed. However, given the current state of defect densities in

epitaxial GaN, the lateral geometry seems the most promising, for the time being, for

achieving very high VB values. Quasi-substrates of GaN, produced by thick epi-growth

on mismatched substrates and subsequent removal of this template, are soon to be

commercially available. In some cases the background doping in these is as low as

7.9x1015 cm 3 which makes feasible the use of these thick (200 [lm) freestanding GaN

films for vertically depleting rectifiers.

Figure 3-20 shows some I-V characteristics from the 100 [lm gap spacing GaN

and Al0.25Ga0.75N rectifiers. The best forward turn-on voltages, VF (defined as the forward

voltage at a current density of 100 A cm 2) was -15 V for GaN and -33 V for

Al0.25Gao.75N. These are much higher than the values obtained on more conducting GaN

films, where VF is typically 5-8 V. Note, however, that the ratio VB/VF is still very high

for the resistive diodes, with values ranging from 294 to 423. The specific on-state

resistance for a rectifier is given by

Ro = (4VB2/. EM) + p -s Ws+ Rc 3-5

where s is the GaN permittivity, l the carrier mobility, S and Ws are substrate resistivity

and thickness, and Rc is the contact resistance. The best on-state resistances we achieved

were 0.15 Q-cm2 for GaN and 1 Q-cm2 for Al0.25Ga0.75N, leading to figure of merits

(VB)2/RoN of 268 MW-cm 2 and 94 MW-cm 2, respectively. At low reverse voltages

(2000 V), the magnitude of the reverse current was proportional to contact diameter. As

the diodes approached breakdown the reverse current was proportional to contact area,

suggesting bulk leakage becomes dominant.

The variation of VB with Al percentage in the AlGaN layer of the rectifiers is

shown in Figure 3-21, along with the calculated bandgaps. VB does increase with

increasing bandgap Eg, but is not proportional to (Eg)1.5 as expected from a simple

theory. The presence of bulk and surface defects will have a strong influence on VB, and

these are not well controlled at this stage of AlGaN rectifier technology.

To place our results in context, Figure 3-22, Figure 3-23 and Figure 3-24 show a

compilation of RON, reverse leakage current and forward turn-on volatges versus VB data

for state-of-the-art SiC and GaN Schottky diode rectifiers, respectively, together with

theoretical curves for Si, 6H, and 4H-SiC and hexagonal GaN. Our results for high

breakdown GaN devices show the on resistances and forward turn-on voltages are still

well above the theoretical values and more work is needed to understand current

conduction mechanisms, the role of residual native oxides on contact properties, and

impact ionization coefficients in GaN.

3.5.4 Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, lateral geometry Al Gal-xN Schottky rectifiers employing edge

termination show reverse breakdown voltages up to 9.7 kV. These breakdown voltages

scale with contact spacing and the rectifiers appear promising for high power electronics


-10000 -8000 -6000 -4000 -2000 0

Voltage (V)

Figure 3-20






Current-voltage characteristics of GaN and Alo.25Gao.75N

10 20





- 3.4

Al Percentage in AIGaN (%)

Figure 3-21 Variation of VB with Al percentage in the AlGaN
layer of the rectifiers.






1 00 / AIGaN UF

SE. Diode Rectifiers GaN UF

10- GaN (UF) i
o GaN-UF
o im SiC-ABB* /
"U *GaN-Caltec //
u" 10-2 SiC-Purdue
Ql 'Si GaN-UF
E *SiC-NCSU* -
5 6H-SiC
0 10-3 -- .--
- 4H-SiC SiC-RPI

10-4 .. .. .
101 102 103 104
Breakdown Voltage (V)

RON = su sub ,

VRB = breakdown voltage
[ = carrier mobility
= permittivity
Ec = critical field for breakdown
Psub Wsub = resistivity/thickness of substrate

Figure 3-22 On-state resistance vs VB for wide band gap Schottky
rectifiers. The theoretical performance limits of Si, SiC, and
GaN devices are shown by the solid lines.


SiC (Siemens, '97) I
SiC (Purdue, '97)

SSiC (NCSU, '95) 0 SiC (Philips, '97)

I GaN (UF, '99) 0 SiC (Cree,'97)
lD-GaN (Caltech, '99) GaN (UF)
- SiC (RPI, '98) AIGaN (UF) |
SiC (ABB, '97)
SiC (Cincinnati, '97)
with Barrier Lowering
SiC (D-Benz,'97)

-I I I I I I I


800 1200 1600

VR (Volts)


JR = AT 2 exp[ -(- A )]
JR = reverse current density

A** = Richardson's constant

T = absolute temperature

B = Schottky barrier height

A4B = image-force induced barrier lowering

Figure 3-23

Reverse leakage current JR VS VB for wide band gap
Schottky rectifiers.





GaN (UF) AlGaN (UF, 00)
GaN (UF, 00) '

V, (Volts)


nkT J +
e AT
n = ideality factor

T = absolute temperature

A** = Richardson's constant

B = Schottky barrier height

RON = specific on-resistance

Figure 3-24 Forward volatge drop VF VS VB for wide band gap
Schottky rectifiers.

3.6 Vertical and Lateral GaN Rectifiers on Free-Standing GaN Substrates

Although the GaN-based power rectifiers on sapphire substrate show impressive

results, there are still numerous short-comings in these devices, including higher reverse

leakage current than expected from thermionic emission, high forward turn-on voltages,

negative temperature coefficients for reverse breakdown voltage, non-uniformities and

the low thermal condicutivity of the sapphire substrate.

Recently there have been initial reports of reverse recovery characteristics of GaN

Schottky rectifiers fabricated on free-standing substrates. Those substrates have the

advantages of higher thermal conductivity than sapphire and the potential for higher

forward current densities and reverse breakdown voltages than lateral rectifiers fabricated

in insulating substrates.

We investigated the effect of contact dimension and current flow direction (lateral

versus vertical) on the on-state resistance and breakdown voltage of Gan Schottky

rectifiers fabricated on free-standing GaN substrates. There is a dramatic effect of contact

diameter on VB, with the latter ranging from 6 to 700 V as the diameter was decresred

from 7 mm to 75 |tm. At the lower end ofthios range the on-state resistance (RON) are

exceptionally low (1.71-3.01 mQ.cm-2), producing maximum figure-of-merit (VB2/RoN)

above 100 MW-cm2.

The 200 |tm thick GaN quasi-substrates were grown by hydride vapor phase

epitaxy on sapphire substarte, lifted-off by laser heating and then etched and polished as

shown in Figure (3-25). The measured n-type doping concentration was ~1017 cm-3. Mg+

implantation at 5x1014 cm-2, 50 keV, followed by annealing was used to create 30 |tm

Figure 3-25 Free-standing GaN substrate grown by HVPE.

diameter p-guard rings at the edge of the Schottky contacts. The rectifying contact

diameter was 75 |tm for the small-area device and 7mm for the large-area devices. On

these latter structures the Schottky metal was extended over a SiO2 layer deposited by rf

(13.56 MHz) plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition using SiH4 and N20 as the

precursors. Full-area back ohmic contacts were placed on the N-face using e-beam

evaporation of Ti/Al/Pt/Au. On the small-area devices we also placed ohmic contacts on

X 1,000 irPn/i
2 10.00] rn/iv

a l Iate. loi

X L000 m/diw+
Z 30.000 *M/lW

al laanb1a.N2

Figure 3-26 AFM images showing Ga- (front surface, top) and N-
(backside surface, bottom) terminated surfaces.


p -guard ring

p -guard ring

-200 tm undoped GaN(HVPE)




p -guard ring
-200 Ltm undoped

p -guard ring


Figure 3.27. Schematic of 7 mm contact diameter (top) and 75 |tm
contact diameter (bottom) rectifiers.



Ti/Al/Pt/Au SiO2

the top (Ga-face) surface so that we could compare results from the lateral and vertical

geometries. The top Schottky contacts were e-beam deposited Pt/Ti/Au in both large and

small area devices. In the latter case, the Schottky-ohmic metal spacing was 30 |tm.

Schematics of the completed structures are shown in Fig. 3-27. Current-voltage (I-V)

characteristics were recorded on an HP 4145B parameter analyzer at 25 C for the

forward part of the characteristics, while Tetronix 370A curve tracer was used for the

reverse characteristics measuement.

Figure 3-28 shows the I-V characteristic from the large area rectifers. The reverse

breakdown voltage (VB) is only -6 V and is obviously far below anything of practical

use. The on-state resistance (RON) was 3.4 Q-cm2 for these devices. The low VB is in

stark contrast to the values achieved in smaller devices, as described below. Since the

defect density in the quasi-substrate was ~105 cm-2 as measured by combined photo-

chemical etching and atomic force microscopy, the large area rectifiers are highly likely

to include one or more defects. Hsu et al. found that reverse bias leakage in GaN

Schottky diodes occurred primarily at defects and dislocations. The figure-of-merit

VB2/RoN had a value of 10.7 W-cm-2 for the large area rectifiers while maximum current

of -500mA could be achieved before sample heating became a problem.

I-V characteristics from the small-area rectifers, measured in the lateral geometry

are shown in Fig. 3-29. The VB was -250 V, with an excellent RON of 1.7 mQ-cm2. This

on-state resistance is the lowest reported for any GaN rectifers and shows that continued

improvements in surface cleaning and contact technologies for this materials system have

led to a rapid maturation of our understanding of how to process these devices. The value

of VB2/RN was 36.5 MW-cm-2. Note that remarkable improvement in the electrical


100 ,

80 -


40- -

0 20
0 ........------

-20 *
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2

Voltage (V)

Fig. 3.28 Effect of Schottky-ohmic contact gap spacing on
VB for GaN and Al0.25Ga0.75N rectifiers.

characteristics in the small-area rectifiers relative to the large devices fabricated on the

same material. The forward turn-on voltage, VF, defined as the forward bias at which the

current density was 100 A-cmn2, was 1.8 V. This is roughly half of what has been

reported previously for GaN Schottky rectifersd on heterepitaxial layers. The forward

turn-on voltage for Schottky rectifiers is given by

VF = nkT/e(ln[J, / A**T2] +nB + RN -VF 3-6

Where n is the ideality factor, k is Boltzmann's constant, T the absolute diode

temperature, e the electronic charge, IF the forward current density at VF, A** is the

Richardson constant, 4B the barrier height (-1.1 eV in this case for Pt on n-GaN) and RON

the on-state resistance. One of the reasons for the much lower VF in these quasi-bulk

rectifers is the small RON value to heteroepitaxial devices. The ideality factors were -2 in

the large area rectifers, indicating that recombination was the dominant current transport

mechanism. In the small-area rectifers, n values was -1.5, which is consistent with

diffusion currents being dominant. These results can be explained by the relative

probabilities for having defects in the active region of the rectifiers for the different

contact diameters.

Figure 3-30 shows the I-V characteristics from the small-area diode measured

from top-to-bottom, i.e. through the GaN substrate, rather than in the lateral geometry

employed for the data of Figure 3-29. The VB in the vertical geometry was -700 V,

while Ron was 3.01 mQ-cm2, leading to a figure-of-merit of 162.8 MW-cm-2. This VB is

close to the expected maximum for the drift region doping concentration of 1017 cm-3.

The forward turn-on voltage was still -1.8 V, which is close to the minimum expected for

a GaN rectifier with a VB of 700 V and Assuming a barrier height of 1.1 eV. The ratio

VB/VF is -389, a record for GaN rectifers, and the forward current density could be

pushed above 1000 A-cm-2. A plausible explanation for the large improvement in VB in

the vertical geometry may be not only in the larger thickness in this direction (200 tim)

compared to the 30 |tm spacing between Schottky and ohmic contacts in the lateral

direction, but also in the fact that the vertical depletion mode would minimize surface

breakdown problems. The reverse current at bias value close to VB was proportional to

-30 -20 -10 0

Voltage (V)

Lateral Diode

- o ft 1 1 I I - - - - - - -

-250 -200 -150 -100 -50

Voltage (V)

Figure 3.29.

I-V characteristics from 75 |tm contact diameter
GaN rectifiers measured in lateral geometry.





O .-




-30 -20 -10 0

Voltage (V)










Voltage (V)

Figure 3.30. I-V characteristics from 75 |tm contact diameter GaN
rectifiers measured in vertical geometry.

Vertical Diode

.. . ............................... -o -- ---- ----i - -


0 -


contact diameter, suggesting that the surface is playing a strong role in the origin of the

leakage current.

One can expect major improvements in VB in quasi-bulk GaN rectifiers as the

background doping is decreased. For example, a 200 |tm thick sample with a doping of

1015 cm-3 (which is quite feasible by reducing the background Si and O content, or by

appropriate compensation) would have a predicted VB of ~1.5x104 V. These would have

application for power control system in the 13.8 kV class.

In summary, the size and geometry dependence of GaN Schottky rectifiers on

quasi-bulk substrate has been investigated. The reverse breakdown voltage increases

dramatically as contact size is decreased and is also much larger for vertically-depleting

devices. The low on-state resistances produce high figure-of-merits for the rectifiers and

show their potential for applications involving high power electronic control systems.


4.1 Comparison of GaN p-i-n and Schottky Rectifiers Performance

4.1.1 Introduction

Schottky and p-i-n diodes are employed as high-voltage rectifiers in power

switching application. To suppress voltage transients when current is switched to

inductive loads such as electric motors, these diodes are placed across the switching

transistors. The advantage of simple metal-semiconductor diodes relative to p-n junction

diodes is the faster turn-off because of the absence of minority carrier storage effects and

lower power dissipation during switching. Wide bandgap semiconductors such as GaN

offer additional advantages for fabrication of diode rectifiers, including much higher

breakdown voltages and operating temperatures. There is much interest in developing

advanced switching devices and control circuits for CW and pulsed electrical sub-

systems in emerging hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicles, more-electric airplanes and

naval ships and for improved transmission, distribution and quality of electric power in

the utilities industry. Eventually one would like to reach target goals of 25 kV stand-off

voltage, 2 kA or higher conducting current, forward drop less than 2% of the rated

voltage and maximum operating frequency of 50 kHz.

Figure 4-1 shows a SIMS profile ofH and other background impurities (along

with intentional Si doping) in an MOCVD-grown p-i-n diode structure (left), together

with the Mg profile in the structure (right). Notice once again that the H decorates the Mg

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