skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on May 1, 2024

Title: Radiation damage in GaN/AlGaN and SiC electronic and photonic devices
The wide bandgap semiconductors SiC and GaN are commercialized for power electronics and for visible to UV light-emitting diodes in the case of the GaN/InGaN/AlGaN materials system. For power electronics applications, SiC MOSFETs (metal–oxide–semiconductor field effect transistors) and rectifiers and GaN/AlGaN HEMTs and vertical rectifiers provide more efficient switching at high-power levels than do Si devices and are now being used in electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure. These devices also have applications in more electric aircraft and space missions where high temperatures and extreme environments are involved. In this review, their inherent radiation hardness, defined as the tolerance to total doses, is compared to Si devices. This is higher for the wide bandgap semiconductors, due in part to their larger threshold energies for creating defects (atomic bond strength) and more importantly due to their high rates of defect recombination. However, it is now increasingly recognized that heavy-ion-induced catastrophic single-event burnout in SiC and GaN power devices commonly occurs at voltages ∼50% of the rated values. The onset of ion-induced leakage occurs above critical power dissipation within the epitaxial regions at high linear energy transfer rates and high applied biases. The amount of power dissipated along the ion track determines the extent of the leakage current degradation. The net result is the carriers produced along the ion track undergo impact ionization and thermal runaway. Light-emitting devices do not suffer from this mechanism since they are forward-biased. Strain has also recently been identified as a parameter that affects radiation susceptibility of the wide bandgap devices.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of vacuum science and technology B Nanotechnology microelectronics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We present a review of the published experimental and simulation radiation damage results in Ga 2 O 3 . All of the polytypes of Ga 2 O 3 are expected to show similar radiation resistance as GaN and SiC, considering their average bond strengths. However, this is not enough to explain the orders of magnitude difference of the relative resistance to radiation damage of these materials compared to GaAs and dynamic annealing of defects is much more effective in Ga 2 O 3 . It is important to examine the effect of all types of radiation, given that Ga 2 O 3 devices will potentially be deployed both in space and terrestrial applications. Octahedral gallium monovacancies are the main defects produced under most radiation conditions because of the larger cross-section for interaction compared to oxygen vacancies. Proton irradiation introduces two main paramagnetic defects in Ga 2 O 3 , which are stable at room temperature. Charge carrier removal can be explained by Fermi-level pinning far from the conduction band minimum due to gallium interstitials (Ga i ), vacancies (V Ga ), and antisites (Ga O ). One of the most important parameters to establish is the carrier removal rate for each type of radiation, since this directly impacts the current in devices such as transistors or rectifiers. When compared to the displacement damage predicted by the Stopping and Range of Ions in Matter(SRIM) code, the carrier removal rates are generally much lower and take into account the electrical nature of the defects created. With few experimental or simulation studies on single event effects (SEE) in Ga 2 O 3 , it is apparent that while other wide bandgap semiconductors like SiC and GaN are robust against displacement damage and total ionizing dose, they display significant vulnerability to single event effects at high Linear Energy Transfer (LET) and at much lower biases than expected. We have analyzed the transient response of β -Ga 2 O 3 rectifiers to heavy-ion strikes via TCAD simulations. Using field metal rings improves the breakdown voltage and biasing those rings can help control the breakdown voltage. Such biased rings help in the removal of the charge deposited by the ion strike. 
    more » « less
  2. About the LASER-TEC Laser and Fiber Optics Educational Series This series was created for use in engineering technology programs such as electronics, photonics, laser electro-optics, etc. This series of publications has three goals in mind: 1) to create educational materials for areas of laser electro-optics technology in which no materials exist, 2) to work with industry to use, adapt, and enhance available industry-created materials, 3) to make these materials available at no cost which, in turn, would generate more accessible education to everyone (including technicians). The Laser and Fiber Optics Educational Series is available for free online at About Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors New semiconductors based on silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are now commercially available, which has been instrumental in removing obstacles that legacy silicon bipolar and metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) devices could not overcome. These new devices have superior power-handling abilities due to their better thermal properties, higher switching frequencies, and lower conduction losses. Collectively, these properties make wide-bandgap devices the preferred technology for high-power conversion applications with efficiencies approaching 99%. For this reason, this new technology must be introduced to existing curricula, preparing engineers and technicians to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s power electronics challenges. This module is intended for use in technical programs after coverage of basic semiconductor theory and discrete devices such as silicon diodes, bipolar junction, field effect, and MOSFET transistors. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Researchers have been extensively studying wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride (GaN) with an aim to accomplish an improvement in size, weight, and power of power electronics beyond current devices based on silicon (Si). However, the increased operating power densities and reduced areal footprints of WBG device technologies result in significant levels of self-heating that can ultimately restrict device operation through performance degradation, reliability issues, and failure. Typically, self-heating in WBG devices is studied using a single measurement technique while operating the device under steady-state direct current measurement conditions. However, for switching applications, this steady-state thermal characterization may lose significance since the high power dissipation occurs during fast transient switching events. Therefore, it can be useful to probe the WBG devices under transient measurement conditions in order to better understand the thermal dynamics of these systems in practical applications. In this work, the transient thermal dynamics of an AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) were studied using thermoreflectance thermal imaging and Raman thermometry. Also, the proper use of iterative pulsed measurement schemes such as thermoreflectance thermal imaging to determine the steady-state operating temperature of devices is discussed. These studies are followed with subsequent transient thermal characterization to accurately probe the self-heating from steady-state down to submicrosecond pulse conditions using both thermoreflectance thermal imaging and Raman thermometry with temporal resolutions down to 15 ns. 
    more » « less
  4. We report on the illustration of the first electron blocking layer (EBL) free AlInN nanowire light-emitting diodes (LEDs) operating in the deep ultraviolet (DUV) wavelength region (sub-250 nm). We have systematically analyzed the results using APSYS software and compared with simulated AlGaN nanowire DUV LEDs. From the simulation results, significant efficiency droop was observed in AlGaN based devices, attributed to the significant electron leakage. However, compared to AlGaN nanowire DUV LEDs at similar emission wavelength, the proposed single quantum well (SQW) AlInN based light-emitters offer higher internal quantum efficiency without droop up to current density of 1500 A/cm2and high output optical power. Moreover, we find that transverse magnetic polarized emission is ∼ 5 orders stronger than transverse electric polarized emission at 238 nm wavelength. Further research shows that the performance of the AlInN DUV nanowire LEDs decreases with multiple QWs in the active region due to the presence of the non-uniform carrier distribution in the active region. This study provides important insights on the design of new type of high performance AlInN nanowire DUV LEDs, by replacing currently used AlGaN semiconductors.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Silicon carbide (SiC) is a wide bandgap third‐generation semiconductor well suited for harsh environment power electronics, micro and nano electromechanical systems, and emerging quantum technology by serving as hosts for quantum states via defect centers. The chemical inertness of SiC limits viable etching techniques to plasma‐based reactive ion etching methods; however, these could have significant undesirable effects for electronic and photonic devices. This paper presents a plasma‐free, open‐circuit, photo‐induced metal‐assisted chemical etch for fabricating micro and nanoscale features without the inherent high energy ion‐related surface damage. The method presented herein utilizes above bandgap ultraviolet light, patterned noble metal (Pt), and a solution consisting of an oxidant potassium persulfate (K2S2O8) and an acid, hydrofluoric acid, to spatially define the etching morphology. The parameter space is comprehensively explored to demonstrate the controllability and versatility of this technique to produce ordered arrays of micro and nanoscale SiC structures with porous or solid sidewalls, and to elucidate the etching mechanism.

    more » « less