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Impact of GaN cap thickness on optical, electrical, and device properties in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistor structures

: Waltereit, P.; Müller, S.; Bellmann, K.; Buchheim, C.; Goldhahn, R.; Köhler, K.; Kirste, L.; Baeumler, M.; Dammann, M.; Bronner, W.; Quay, R.; Ambacher, O.


Journal of applied physics 106 (2009), No.2, Art. 023535, 7 pp.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAF ()

We systematically investigate Al(0.22)Ga(0.78)N/GaN high electron mobility transistors with GaN cap layer thicknesses of 0, 1, and 3 nm. All samples have electron mobilities around 1700 cm2/Vs and sheet carrier concentrations around 8x10(exp 12) cm-2 as determined by Hall effect measurements. From photoreflectance measurements we conclude that the electric field strength within the AlGaN barrier increases with GaN cap layer thickness leading to a broadening of the transition peaks as determined by spectroscopic ellipsometry. The surface potential as determined by photoreflectance varies in the range between 0.585 and 0.249 eV dependent on the thickness of the GaN cap. Device results show a significant decrease in Ohmic contact resistance, an increase in ideality factor, a decrease in gate and drain leakage currents, an increase in gain, and an increase in power added efficiency with increasing cap layer thickness. Finally, devices with GaN cap show an improved direct current reliability compared to their counterparts without GaN cap.