Evaluation of Surface States of AlGaN/GaN HFET Using Open-Gated Structure

Daigo KIKUTA  Jin-Ping AO  Yasuo OHNO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E88-C   No.4   pp.683-689
Publication Date: 2005/04/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 10.1093/ietele/e88-c.4.683
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Fundamental and Application of Advanced Semiconductor Devices)
Category: Compound Semiconductor Devices
device simulation,  open-gated FET,  AlGaN/GaN heterostructure,  trap,  surface state,  interface state,  

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We analyzed passivation film and the AlGaN surface states using open-gated structures of AlGaN/GaN HFETs by numerical simulation and experiments. From the analyses, we confirmed that insulating film conductivity plays the prominent roles in device performances of the wide bandgap semiconductor device. Device simulation confirmed that the difference in ID-VG characteristics is due to the trapping type of the surface states; electron-trap type or hole-trap type. For electron-trap type surface states, the surface potential pinned at electron quasi-Fermi level, which is the same as the channel potential in the open-gated FETs. As a result, surface potential of ungated region is equal to the channel electric potential resulting in the uncontrollability of the channel current by the edge placed gate electrode. For hole-trap type surface states, the surface potential is pinned at hole quasi-Fermi level, which must be the same as the edge placed gate electrode potential. Then, the AlGaN surface potential varies with the electrode potential variation allowing the control of channel current as if the whole channel is covered with a metal electrode. Experiments for open-gated FET with unpassivated surface show no current variation. This corresponds to electron-trap type surface states from the simulation. On the other hand, SiOX evaporated open-gated FET show current control by the gate electrode. The ID-VG characteristics resembles in simulated ID-VG characteristics with hole-trap surface states. However, the estimated time constants for the trap reactions are incredibly long due to the deep energy level for the surface states in wide bandgap semiconductors. In addition, the open-gated FET showed reverse threshold shift to the value expected from the hole-trap pinning levels. So, we concluded that the no current variation for the unpassivated open-gated FET can be attributed to electron traps in the surface states, but the control of the drain current for SiOX deposited open-gated FET is not by surface hole-traps, but by slightly conductive passivation film of SiOX.