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Piezoelectric actuation of (GaN/)AlGaN/GaN heterostructures

Piezoelektrische Anregung von (GaN/)AlGaN/GaN-Heterostrukturen
: Tonisch, K.; Buchheim, C.; Niebelschütz, F.; Schober, A.; Gobsch, G.; Cimalla, V.; Ambacher, O.; Goldhahn, R.


Journal of applied physics 104 (2008), No.8, Art. 084516, 8 pp.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAF ()
gallium nitride; Galliumnitrid; electric field; elektrisches Feld; piezoelektrische Anregung; piezoelectric actuation; GaN

A detailed analysis of the piezoelectric response of (GaN/)AlGaN/GaN heterostructures is reported. The electromechanical properties of two types of heterostructures with an Al content of 31% are compared. Only a single two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) is formed for samples with thin GaN cap layers, while both a 2DEG and a two-dimensional hole gas coexist in the case of thick GaN caps. The lower GaN layer represents the mechanically supporting layer, while the AlGaN film, and in some cases an additional GaN cap layer, serves as the piezoelectrically active layers for actuation. The 2DEG (at the lower AlGaN/GaN interface) provides the conducting channel which was used as back electrode for the applied external voltage. Electroreflectance spectroscopy is applied in order to determine the electric field distribution across the whole structure as a function of the applied voltage. It is found that only a part of the modulation voltage drops across the active region. Piezoelectric force microscopy yields the field (voltage)-dependent actuation of the layers. By correlating the results of the two experimental techniques we are able to determine the piezoelectric modulus d33 with considerably improved reliability. A value for Al0.31Ga0.69N of 5 pm/V is found which is higher than an estimation based on previously reported data for GaN and AlN.