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Optimum Carbon Concentration in GaN-on-Silicon for Breakdown Enhancement in AlGaN/GaN HEMTs

TitleOptimum Carbon Concentration in GaN-on-Silicon for Breakdown Enhancement in AlGaN/GaN HEMTs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRemesh, N, Mohan, N, Raghavan, S, Muralidharan, R, Nath, DN
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
KeywordsCarbon, Doping, Electric breakdown, Gallium nitride, HEMTs, MODFETs, temperature measurement

This article reports on the experimental and analytical determination of the optimum carbon concentration in GaN to achieve enhanced breakdown in AlGaN/GaN high-electron mobility transistors (HEMTs). The lateral breakdown voltage increases when carbon doping is increased from 3×1018 to 10 19 cm −3 beyond which it decreases, whereas there is no substantial enhancement in the vertical breakdown voltage with carbon doping. We invoke carrier statistics in a compensated semiconductor vis-à-vis the formation energy of carbon-occupying Ga (or N) vacancies to explain the observed buffer leakage. Temperature-dependent data indicate that the buffer leakage current is due to hopping transport, the activation energy of which yields the positions of the defect states within the bandgap. The increase in buffer leakage beyond optimum C concentration is attributed to the formation of shallow donor traps by carbon atoms occupying Ga vacancies (C Ga ). The observations correlated with the relative intensities of the defect-mediated peaks in the cathodoluminescence (CL) data of the samples. Based on our findings, a C doping beyond 10 19 cm −3 is not recommended for GaN buffers in order to achieve high breakdown voltages.