Degradation Mechanisms for GaN and GaAs High Speed Transistors

Cheney, David J.; Douglas, Erica A.; Lu Liu; Chien-Fong Lo; Gila, Brent P.; Fan Ren; Pearton, Stephen J.
December 2012
Materials (1996-1944);Dec2012, Vol. 5 Issue 12, p2498
Academic Journal
We present a review of reliability issues in AlGaN/GaN and AlGaAs/GaAs high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) as well as Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (HBTs) in the AlGaAs/GaAs materials systems. Because of the complex nature and multi-faceted operation modes of these devices, reliability studies must go beyond the typical Arrhenius accelerated life tests. We review the electric field driven degradation in devices with different gate metallization, device dimensions, electric field mitigation techniques (such as source field plate), and the effect of device fabrication processes for both DC and RF stress conditions. We summarize the degradation mechanisms that limit the lifetime of these devices. A variety of contact and surface degradation mechanisms have been reported, but differ in the two device technologies: For HEMTs, the layers are thin and relatively lightly doped compared to HBT structures and there is a metal Schottky gate that is directly on the semiconductor. By contrast, the HBT relies on pn junctions for current modulation and has only Ohmic contacts. This leads to different degradation mechanisms for the two types of devices.


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