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  1. In this work, we demonstrate the rejuvenation of Ti/4H-SiC Schottky barrier diodes after forward current-induced degradation, at room temperature and in a few seconds, by exploiting the physics of high-energy electron interactions with defects. The diodes were intentionally degraded to a 42% decrease in forward current and a 9% increase in leakage current through accelerated electrical stressing. The key feature of our proposed rejuvenation process is very high current density electrical pulsing with low frequency and duty cycle to suppress any temperature rise. The primary stimulus is, therefore, the electron wind force, which is derived from the loss of the momentum of the high energy electrons upon collision with the defects. Such defect-specific or “just in location” mobilization of atoms allows a significant decrease in defect concentration, which is not possible with conventional thermal annealing that requires higher temperatures and longer times. We show evidence of rejuvenation with additional improvement in leakage current (16%) and forward current (38%) beyond the pristine condition. Transmission electron microscopy, geometric phase analysis, Raman spectroscopy, and energy dispersive x-ray-spectroscopy reveal the enhancement of defects and interfaces. The ultrafast and room temperature process has the potential for rejuvenating electronic devices operating in high power and harshmore »environmental conditions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 15, 2024
  2. There are numerous applications for deep UV AlGaN Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in virus inactivation, air and water purification, sterilization, bioagent detection and UV polymer curing. The long-term stability of these LEDs is also of interest for long-duration space missions such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), the first gravitational wave detector in space. We review the literature on long-term aging of these devices as a function of drive current, temperature and dc versus pulsed operation. The LEDs typically show a gradual decline in output power (up to 50%) over extended operating times (>100 h) and the rate of decline is mainly driven by current and temperature. Experimentally, the degradation rate is dependent on the cube of drive current density and exponentially on temperature. The main mechanism for this decline appears to be creation/migration of point defects. Pre-screening by considering the ratio of band edge-to-midgap emission and LED ideality factor is effective in identifying populations of devices that show long lifetimes (>10,000 h), defined as output power falling to 70% of the initial value.

  3. Abstract

    While radiation is known to degrade AlGaN/GaN high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs), the question remains on the extent of damage governed by the presence of an electrical field in the device. In this study, we induced displacement damage in HEMTs in both ON and OFF states by irradiating with 2.8 MeV Au4+ion to fluence levels ranging from1.72×1010to3.745×1013ions cm−2, or 0.001–2 displacement per atom (dpa). Electrical measurement is donein situ, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), energy dispersive x-ray (EDX), geometrical phase analysis (GPA), and micro-Raman are performed on the highest fluence of Au4+irradiated devices. The selected heavy ion irradiation causes cascade damage in the passivation, AlGaN, and GaN layers and at all associated interfaces. After just 0.1 dpa, the current density in the ON-mode device deteriorates by two orders of magnitude, whereas the OFF-mode device totally ceases to operate. Moreover, six orders of magnitude increase in leakage current and loss of gate control over the 2-dimensional electron gas channel are observed. GPA and Raman analysis reveal strain relaxation after a 2 dpa damage level in devices. Significant defects and intermixing of atoms near AlGaN/GaN interfaces and GaN layer are found from HRTEM and EDX analyses,more »which can substantially alter device characteristics and result in complete failure.

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  4. Radiation damage in electronic devices is known to be influenced by physics, design, and materials system. Here, we report the effects of biasing state (such as ON and OFF) and pre-existing damage in GaN high electron mobility transistors exposed to γ radiation. Controlled and accelerated DC biasing was used to prestress the devices, which showed significant degradation in device characteristics compared to pristine devices under ON and OFF states after γ irradiation. The experiment is performed in situ for the ON-state to investigate transient effects during irradiation until the total dose reaches 10 Mrad. It shows that threshold voltage, maximum transconductance, and leakage current initially decrease with dosage but slowly converge to a steady value at higher doses. After 10 Mrad irradiation, the OFF-state device demonstrates larger RON and one order of magnitude increased leakage current compared to the ON-state irradiated device. The micro-Raman study also confirms that the ON-state operation shows more radiation hardness than OFF and prestressed devices. Prestressed devices generate the highest threshold voltage shift from −2.85 to −2.49 V and two orders of magnitude higher leakage current with decreased saturation current after irradiation. These findings indicate that high electric fields during stressing can generate defects by modifying strain distribution,more »and higher defect density can not only create more charges during irradiation but also accelerate the diffusion process from the ionizing track to the nearest collector and consequently degrade device performances.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 18, 2023
  5. As electronic systems become larger and more complex, detection of the most vulnerable regions (MVR) to radiation exposure becomes more difficult and time consuming. We present a heuristic approach where the mechanical and thermal aspects of devices are exploited to quickly identify MVRs. Our approach involves the topological mapping of two device conditions. The first condition identifies regions with the highest mechanical strain or density of defects and interfaces via thermal wave probing and phase analysis. The second condition identifies regions with high electrical field. It is hypothesized that the region with the highest thermal wave penetration resistance and electrical field will exhibit the highest sensitivity to incoming radiation for single events and potentially, total ionizing dose. Our approach implements a simplistic design that improves analysis time by ∼2–3 orders of magnitude over current radiation sensitivity mapping methods. The design is demonstrated on the well-studied operational amplifier LM124, which shows agreement with the literature in identifying sensitive transistors–QR1, Q9, and Q18–with relatively high phase percentile values (>70%) and ΔT percentiles (>50%), satisfying conditions for elevated radiation susceptibility. This is followed by experimental results on a static random access memory (HM-6504) and a Xilinx Artix-7 35 T system on a chip.
  6. Radiation damage mitigation in electronics remains a challenge because the only established technique, thermal annealing, does not guarantee a favorable outcome. In this study, a non-thermal annealing technique is presented, where electron momentum from very short duration and high current density pulses is used to target and mobilize the defects. The technique is demonstrated on 60 Co gamma irradiated (5 × 10 6 rad dose and 180 × 10 3 rad h −1 dose rate) GaN high electron mobility transistors. The saturation current and maximum transconductance were fully and the threshold voltage was partially recovered at 30 °C or less. In comparison, thermal annealing at 300 °C mostly worsened the post-irradiation characteristics. Raman spectroscopy showed an increase in defects that reduce the 2-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) concentration and increase the carrier scattering. Since the electron momentum force is not applicable to the polymeric surface passivation, the proposed technique could not recover the gate leakage current, but performed better than thermal annealing. The findings of this study may benefit the mitigation of some forms of radiation damage in electronics that are difficult to achieve with thermal annealing.
  7. 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 formore »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.« less
  8. The thermal stability of n/n + β -Ga 2 O 3 epitaxial layer/substrate structures with sputtered ITO on both sides to act as rectifying contacts on the lightly doped layer and Ohmic on the heavily doped substrate is reported. The resistivity of the ITO deposited separately on Si decreased from 1.83 × 10 −3 Ω.cm as-deposited to 3.6 × 10 −4 Ω.cm after 300 °C anneal, with only minor reductions at higher temperatures (2.8 × 10 −4 Ω.cm after 600 °C anneals). The Schottky barrier height also decreased with annealing, from 0.98 eV in the as-deposited samples to 0.85 eV after 500 °C annealing. The reverse breakdown voltage exhibited a negative temperature coefficient of −0.46 V.C −1 up to an annealing temperature of 400 °C and degraded faster at higher temperatures. Transmission Electron Microscopy showed significant reaction at the ITO and Ga 2 O 3 interface above 300 °C, with a very degraded contact stack after annealing at 500 °C.