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Title: Temperature-induced degradation of GaN HEMT: An in situ heating study

High-power electronics, such as GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs), are expected to perform reliably in high-temperature conditions. This study aims to gain an understanding of the microscopic origin of both material and device vulnerabilities to high temperatures by real-time monitoring of the onset of structural degradation under varying temperature conditions. This is achieved by operating GaN HEMT devices in situ inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Electron-transparent specimens are prepared from a bulk device and heated up to 800 °C. High-resolution TEM (HRTEM), scanning TEM (STEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and geometric phase analysis (GPA) are performed to evaluate crystal quality, material diffusion, and strain propagation in the sample before and after heating. Gate contact area reduction is visible from 470 °C accompanied by Ni/Au intermixing near the gate/AlGaN interface. Elevated temperatures induce significant out-of-plane lattice expansion at the SiNx/GaN/AlGaN interface, as revealed by geometry-phase GPA strain maps, while in-plane strains remain relatively consistent. Exposure to temperatures exceeding 500 °C leads to almost two orders of magnitude increase in leakage current in bulk devices in this study, which complements the results from our TEM experiment. The findings of this study offer real-time visual insights into identifying the initial location of degradation and highlight the impact of temperature on the bulk device’s structure, electrical properties, and material degradation.

 
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Award ID(s):
2015795
NSF-PAR ID:
10507806
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
American Vaccum Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B
Volume:
42
Issue:
3
ISSN:
2166-2746
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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