Current collapse and device degradation in AlGaN/GaN heterostructure field effect transistors

Balaz, Daniel (2011) Current collapse and device degradation in AlGaN/GaN heterostructure field effect transistors. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A spectrum of phenomena related to the reliability of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs are investigated in this thesis using numerical simulations. The focus is on trap related phenomena that lead to decrease in the power output and failure of devices, i.e. the current collapse and the device degradation. The current collapse phenomenon has been largely suppressed using SiN passivation, but there are gaps in the understanding of the process leading to this effect. Device degradation, on the other side, is a pending problem of current devices and an obstacle to wide penetration of the market. Calibration of I-V measurements of two devices is performed with high accuracy to provide a trustworthy starting point for modelling the phenomena of interest. Traditionally, in simulations of nitride based HEMTs, only direct piezoelectric effect is taken into account and the resulting interface charge is thence independent of the electric field. In this work, the impact of the electric field via the converse piezoelectric effect is taken into account and its impact on the bound charge and the drain current is studied, as a refinement of the simulation methodology. It is widely believed that the current collapse is caused by a virtual gate, i.e. electrons leaked to the surface of the device. We have found a charge distribution that reproduced the I-V measurement that shows current collapse, hence validating the concept of the virtual gate. While it was previously shown that the virtual gate has a similar impact on the I-V curve as is observed during the current collapse, we believe that this is for the first time that a wide range of gate and drain voltages was calibrated. High gate/drain voltage leading to permanent degradation was also investigated. The hypothesis that stress induced defects and dislocations might be responsible for the degradation was tested but not fully confirmed. Finally, the leakage of electrons thought to be responsible for formation of the virtual gate and the current collapse due to the Poole-Frenkel emission, is simulated in order to explain the surface charge distribution responsible for the current collapse and deduced in Chapter 5.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: AlGaN, GaN, HFET, HEMT, converse piezoelectric effect, stress, strain, current collaspe, device degradation, Poole-Frenkel
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Asenov, Prof. Asen
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Daniel Balaz
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2676
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:58

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