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Influence of surface states on the voltage robustness of AlGaN/GaN HFET power devices

: Wespel, M.; Baeumler, M.; Polyakov, V.; Dammann, M.; Reiner, R.; Waltereit, P.; Quay, R.; Mikulla, M.; Ambacher, O.


Microelectronics reliability 54 (2014), Nr.12, S.2656-2661
ISSN: 0026-2714
Fraunhofer IAF ()
GaN reliability; surface charge; electroluminescence; HTRB; capacitance-voltage profiling

In this work we discuss the influence of the donor-like surface state density (SSD) on leakage currents and the breakdown voltages of AlGaN/GaN heterostructure field-effect transistors (HFET) at high temperature reverse bias (HTRB) step stress. A method to extract charges at the surface by high voltage capacitance voltage (HV-CV) profiling of the gate-drain diode of a HFET is presented. Two samples with different surface passivation are compared. The SSD of the first sample is found to be similar to the polarization charge, whereas it is elevated by a factor of three on the second sample. The influence of the SSD on the electric field is investigated with electroluminescence (EL). The elevated SSD of the second sample engenders severe deficiencies in robustness found in the HTRB. The stress data, the simulation model and the images of EL indicate that the catastrophic failure arises in the dielectric underneath the gate field plate (GFP).