Semiconductor Science and Technology, Vol.27, No.10, Article No.105030, October 2012.

Improving the Breakdown Voltage, ON–resistance and Gate–charge of InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
M. Jagadesh Kumar and Avikal Bansal
Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi – 110 016, India E-mail: mamidala@ieee.org Abstract. Recently, a lateral double diffused metal-oxide-semiconductor (LDMOS) using In0.53 Ga0.47 As having an extended–p+ (ep+ ) body has been shown to be better than a conventional silicon based LDMOS. In this paper, we show that using a stepped gate (SG) for the InGaAs LDMOS, a significantly improved performance can be achieved than using an extended–p+ body for the InGaAs LDMOS. The proposed device has three steps with the gate oxide thickness increasing from the source to the drain. The stepped gate oxide has the following advantages: a good gate control is achieved because of the smaller oxide thickness near the source, lesser gate to drain capacitance is possible due to the greater oxide thickness near the drain and the ON– resistance decreases as a consequence of increased drift region doping which is possible due to the increased thickness of the gate oxide over the drift region. The large mobility of electrons in InGaAs also enhances the current flow and reduces the ON–resistance. Based on 2-D device simulation results, we show that the SG LDMOS using InGaAs exhibits 49.7 % improvement in the breakdown voltage, 43.8 % improvement in ON– resistance, 105.0 % improvement in the range of transconductance, 33.6 % improvement in gate charge and 60.1 % improvement in switching speed as compared to an LDMOS using InGaAS with buried–p+ body.

PACS numbers: 73.40.Qv, 85.30.Tv

Submitted to: Semicond. Sci. Technol.

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors 1. Introduction

2

Silicon and GaAs are widely used for power MOSFET devices. Silicon is used because of its ease of fabrication with CMOS process. GaAs devices are used in cellular handsets, optoelectronics and monolithic microwave integrated circuits. The principal requirement for the devices used in RF applications is lower ON–resistance, lower gate capacitance and higher transconductance [1]. Various techniques have been implemented to improve the characteristics of the power MOSFETs [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. A trade-off needs to be achieved among the performance parameters of an LDMOS. If we improve the speed by reducing the gate capacitance, the gate control deteriorates and the transconductance is degraded. Similarly, if we improve the breakdown voltage, the ON–resistance increases. With silicon reaching its performance limit, we need to explore new materials for enhancing the performance of LDMOS. InGaAs is a new material with higher mobility compared to silicon. The major problem for III-V materials is the absence of native oxide like SiO2 for silicon. The integration of high–κ gate oxides on InGaAs with lesser fixed oxide charge density is the major obstacle in the development of these devices [8, 9, 10, 11]. With the improvements in the fabrication process, the oxide–InGaAs interface is improved [8, 9]. InGaAs nanoscale MOSFETs have shown to have better performance compared to silicon MOSFETs for low voltage applications [11, 12]. Use of InGaAs in LDMOS was first reported by Steighner et al. [13]. They reported that the performance of InGaAs device is better as compared to its silicon counterpart. Extended–p+ body, originally reported in [4] for SOI MOSFETs, was implemented in InGaAs LDMOS and the on–state breakdown was shown to improve by its use [13]. In this paper, we propose a stepped gate [3] structure for LDMOS using In0.53 Ga0.47 As material. The stepped gate structure increases the transconductance by reducing the gate oxide thickness near the source and decreases the capacitive coupling near the drain due to the thicker gate oxide. It also helps in redistributing the electric field in the channel and the drift region, hence increasing the breakdown voltage [3]. It allows the use of higher drift region doping and therefore, helps in decreasing the ON–resistance. Thus, with the stepped gate structure, the safe operating area (SOA) will increase along with the reduction in the ON–resistance. 2. Device Structure and Simulation Parameters The cross-sections of the proposed device and the reference device [13] are shown in Figure 1. P–type InP is used as the substrate and In0.53 Ga0.47 As film is used as the active material. High–κ dielectric material Al2 O3 is used as the gate oxide. The reference device has an extended–p+ region below the source region to reduce the effect of parasitic BJT in LDMOS [4]. The SG LDMOS’s gate has three steps with the gate oxide thickness increasing from the source to the drain. The steps in the gate are all connected together to form a single gate. The stepped gate helps in redistributing the electric field and increasing the breakdown voltage of the device [3].

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
0.0 Gate 0.5 Source n 1.0 p+ 1.5 µm ~~
+

3

LG1

Drain Tox1 p n-drift region In0.53Ga0.47As p-InP substrate ~ 4.0 5.0 6.0 n
+

(a)
1.0

0.0

2.0

3.0

WSP1 WSP2 0.0 Gate 0.5 Source p 1.0
+

LG1

LG2 LG3

Drain n p In0.53Ga0.47As
+

Tox1 Tox2 Tox3 n-drift region

n

+

1.5 µm

~~

(b)
1.0

p-InP substrate

~ 4.0 5.0 Metal 6.0

0.0

2.0 Al2O3

3.0

Figure 1. Cross sectional view of (a) The reference device – ep+ LDMOS [13] and (b) The proposed device – SG LDMOS.

The fixed oxide charge density is taken as 1.3 × 1012 cm−2 [8, 9] . Work function of the metal for the gate material is chosen to be 4.7 eV . Both the devices, SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS, have approximately the same threshold voltage of 0.5 V . The doping value for the drift region and the oxide thickness for the second step and the third step of the gate are optimized to obtain the highest breakdown voltage. The fabrication steps for the stepped gate structure could be similar to that discussed in [3]. The simulation parameters of both the devices are listed in Table 1. 3. Simulation Results and Discussion SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS are created and simulated using Silvaco’s 2D device simulator ATLAS [14]. Appropriate models are invoked for Shokley-Read-Hall generation and recombination, electric field dependent mobility and selberherr impact ionization [14]. The electron mobility in InGaAs is calibrated to 5200 cm2 V −1 s−1 [15]. The energy bandgap at 300 K and the dielectric constant of Al2 O3 are taken as 9.0 eV and 9, respectively. To validate the choice of the models and their parameters used in

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
Table 1. Simulation Parameters

4

Parameter

Value ep+ LDMOS[13] SG LDMOS 30 nm 200 nm 400 nm 2.0 µm 1.0 µm 350 nm 350 nm 100 nm 200 nm 1 × 1016 /cm3 4 × 1016 /cm3 3 × 1017 /cm3 1 × 1019 /cm3 0.5 µm 2.5 µm

TOX1 TOX2 TOX3 LG1 LG2 LG3 WSP 1 WSP 2 Drift Doping Channel Doping Source and Drain Doping Channel Length Drift Region Length In0.53 Ga0.47 As Layer Thickness Threshold Voltage, VT

30 nm

0.8 µm ≈ 0.5 V

our simulations, we first simulated the LDMOS structure [13] and calculated snapback curves, output characteristics and gate charge characteristics. Our results were matched with the ones simulated by Steighner et al., reported and shown in Fig. 2 to Fig. 9 of [13], with the fixed oxide charge density of 5 × 1011 /cm2 as reported in [13]. However, in this study, both for the SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS, we have chosen the recently reported value for the fixed oxide charge density viz. 1.3 × 1012 /cm2 [8, 9]. 3.1. Device Breakdown Breakdown simulation is performed by increasing the drain voltage at a fixed gate voltage of 0 V . We have taken the breakdown voltage as the drain voltage value when the drain current equals 10−6 A/µm. With the use of the stepped gate, the electric field is redistributed in the channel and the drift region [3]. The critical electric field value is attained at a higher VDS for SG LDMOS compared to the ep+ LDMOS. The

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
10 10 Drain Current, I (A/µm) 10 10 10 10 10 10
−2

5
eP LDMOS
+

SG LDMOS
−3

−4

D

−5

−6

44 V

66 V

−7

−8

−9

0

10

20 30 40 50 Drain Voltage, V (V) DS

60

70

Figure 2. Breakdown ID − VDS characteristics at VGS = 0 V for SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS.
0.5 Electric Field, (MV/cm) 0.4 0.3 V 0.2 0.1 0
DS

SG LDMOS + eP LDMOS

= 66 V

V

DS

= 44 V

1.5

2

2.5 3 3.5 Lateral Distance, (µm)

4

4.5

Figure 3. Electric field distribution along the gate oxide and InGaAs interface of the SG LDMOS and the ep+ LDMOS at the breakdown voltage.

electric field is uniformly distributed in the whole of the drift region for SG LDMOS as compared to ep+ LDMOS where, it has a higher value towards the drain side of the drift region compared to the channel side as shown in Figure 3. Therefore, the breakdown is delayed for the SG LDMOS. The SG LDMOS exhibits a 49.7 % increase in the breakdown voltage as compared to the ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 2. 3.2. ON Resistance Figure 4 shows the ON–resistance of the SG LDMOS and the ep+ LDMOS in the linear region of operation. The mean value of the ON–resistance is measured for VGS from 2 V to 9 V . For SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS, the mean ON–resistance is 7.1 mΩ − mm2 and 12.6 mΩ − mm2 , respectively. The SG LDMOS exhibits a 43.8 % improvement in the ON–resistance as compared to the ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 4. The ON–resistance reduction in SG LDMOS is ascribed to the increase in the drift

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
20 (mΩ−mm2) SG LDMOS eP+ LDMOS 15

6

ON−Resistance, R

ON

10

5 1

2

3

4 5 6 7 Gate Voltage, V (V)
GS

8

9

Figure 4. ON-resistance versus gate voltage at VDS = 0.5 V .
SG LDMOS ep LDMOS
+

70 Breakdown Voltage, (V) 60 50 40 30

0

2 4 16 −3 Drift Doping, (× 10 cm )

6

Figure 5. Breakdown voltage dependence on n–drift region doping for SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS

region doping of the SG LDMOS. The maxima for breakdown voltage in SG LDMOS structure is at a higher value of drift region doping as compared to that of ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 5. Thus, a higher drift region doping results in the lower ONresistance. 3.3. Transconductance Figure 6 shows the transconductance versus VGS for a constant VDS in the saturation region. We observe that the SG LDMOS exhibits a 105.0 % increase in the range of gate voltage for which the device responds as compared to the ep+ LDMOS. Thus, SG LDMOS can be used for greater input voltage range as compared to the ep+ LDMOS. As shown in Figure 7, the LDMOS consists of a series combination of an enhancement type MOSFET (M1), a bulk resistor (R2) and a parallel combination of a depletion type MOSFET (M2) and a bulk resistor (R1) [16]. The enhancement

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
200 160 120 80 40 0 0 SG LDMOS ep LDMOS
+

7

Transconductance, gm (µS/µm)

1

2 3 Gate Voltage, V (V)
GS

4

Figure 6. Transconductance as a function of gate voltage for VDS = 4.0 V .
Source p
+

Gate n
+

Drain n+ n-drift region

R2 M1 M2 R1

p-well

Substrate

Figure 7. Equivalent circuit diagram of an LDMOS[16].
SG LDMOS of the main MOSFET (V) 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0 ep LDMOS
+

V

DS

1

2 Gate Voltage, V

GS

3 (V)

4

Figure 8. Drain potential variation of the main MOSFET versus gate voltage at VDS = 4.0 V .

type MOSFET (M1) is referred as the main MOSFET of an LDMOS. Figure 8 shows the potential at the drift region edge near the p–channel and the n–drift junction. The VDS of the main MOSFET of SG LDMOS remains high for a greater range of VGS compared to ep+ LDMOS. At a higher gate voltage, the drain current increases and the potential drop across the bulk resistors increases causing a reduction in the drain

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors

8

voltage of the main MOSFET. When VDS of the main MOSFET is higher, LDMOS operates in the saturation region and for lower VDS , it operates in the linear region. The transconductance falls for higher VGS because of the linear region of operation of the main MOSFET [1] forcing the LDMOS to operate in quasi–saturation. Increase in the drift region doping, decreases the bulk resistance hence, potential drop across the bulk resistors reduces. Therefore, VDS of the main MOSFET remains high for greater range of VGS for SG LDMOS compared to the ep+ LDMOS and hence, the input operating voltage range increases for SG LDMOS. 3.4. Output Characteristics
0.8 SG LDMOS + eP LDMOS Drain Current, I (mA/µm) 0.6

D

0.4

0.2

0 0

10

20 30 40 50 Drain Voltage, V (V) DS

60

70

Figure 9. ID − VDS plots for VGS value from 0.0 V to 4.0 V at an interval of 0.5 V .

Output characteristics of SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS are shown in Figure 9. It can be seen from the figure that the SOA has increased for SG LDMOS as the breakdown and the snapback are delayed. There exists a complex trade–off between ON–resistance and SOA, the SOA should increase with the increase in the ON-resistance of an LDMOS. However, the increase in the SOA along with the decrease in the ON– resistance is observed in SG LDMOS as shown in Figure 9 and Figure 4, respectively. Figure 10 shows the electric field contours in both the devices at gate voltage 1.0 V during snapback. Higher and uniform electric field is present in SG LDMOS compared to ep+ LDMOS which, enhances the breakdown performance and thus the SOA of the device. Thus, the SOA in SG LDMOS is enhanced due to the modulation of electric field in the n–drift region of SG LDMOS. The quasi–saturation is exhibited at a higher gate voltage in SG LDMOS compared to ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 9 because, the value of bulk resistances, R1 and R2 as shown in Figure 7, is smaller in the case of SG LDMOS as compared to ep+ LDMOS. At higher gate voltage, the drain current increases, leading to an increase in the potential drop across the bulk resistors, hence, the potential difference between the source and the drain of main MOSFET (M1) of Figure 7 reduces. In ep+ LDMOS due to larger

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors

9

0

Microns

1.13e+06 8.48e+05 5.65e+05 2.82e+05 0

1 0 1 2 3 Microns 4 5 6

(a)

0

Microns

1.13e+06 8.48e+05 5.65e+05 2.82e+05 0

1 0 1 2 3 Microns 4 5 6

(b) Figure 10. Electric field (V /cm) distribution in (a) ep+ LDMOS and (b) SG LDMOS at VGS = 1.0 V during snapback.

drop across the bulk resistors, M1 reaches linear region and hence, ep+ LDMOS goes into quasi–saturation. SG LDMOS stays in saturation region for a longer range of gate voltage due to the lesser value of the bulk resistance hence, the quasi–saturation occurs at a larger gate voltage as for SG LDMOS as compared to ep+ LDMOS shown in Figure 9.

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors 3.5. Gate Charge
20 V 1A 10 µA
CGD

10

CGS

Figure 11. Circuit diagram for gate charge transient.

6 5 Gate Voltage, VGS (V) 4 3 2 1 0 0 SG LDMOS eP+ LDMOS

0.1

0.2 0.3 Gate Charge, (nC)

0.4

0.5

Figure 12. Gate charge characteristics for SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS.

Gate capacitance plays an important role in determining the turn on and turn off speed of the device [17]. The capacitive coupling of the gate to source (CGS ) should be high to get a higher transconductance value. In contrast, the gate to drain coupling (CGD ) should be lesser as it acts as Miller capacitance [18]. The energy loss during the gate charge should be less, thus, the switching losses can be minimized. Gate charge simulation is performed with the circuit shown in Figure 11 [17]. The simulation is carried out using the mixed-mode module in ATLAS device simulator. The device width chosen is 10, 000 µm. Figure 12 shows the gate charge characteristics of both the devices. The first part of the curve with steep slope is related to QGS . The plateau in the curve corresponds to QGD and the area of the rectangle with opposite corners at origin and the switching point, i.e. the end of the plateau in the curve, represents the energy [19].

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors

11

The initial rise of the curve shows a lesser slope for SG LDMOS as compared to ep+ LDMOS. Hence, SG LDMOS has a higher input capacitance than that of ep+ LDMOS. CGD for SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS is 20.1 nF/mm2 and 29.0 nF/mm2 , respectively. There is 30.8 % reduction in gate to drain capacitance for SG LDMOS in comparison with ep+ LDMOS. This is ascribed to the stepped gate architecture which, increase the dielectric thickness between the gate and the drain in SG LDMOS. Thus, reducing the detrimental effect of Miller capacitance on the amplifier circuits. The total energy required to for switching in SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS is 47.8 pJ and 121.8 pJ, respectively. The SG LDMOS exhibits a 60.7 % decrease in the switching loss as compared to the ep+ LDMOS. The gate charge (QG ) at a gate voltage of 5 V is 5.28 nC/mm2 and 7.95 nC/mm2 for SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS, respectively. Thus, the SG LDMOS exhibits a 33.6 % improvement in the gate charge characteristics as compared to the ep+ LDMOS. The ON-resistance was reduced for SG LDMOS as compared to ep+ LDMOS as shown in Section 3.2. Thus, the value of RON × QG has also reduced by 62.6 % in SG LDMOS compared to ep+ LDMOS. 3.6. Switching

5V 10 kΩ Input 3 fF

Output

Figure 13. Circuit diagram for switching characteristics.

Switching speed of the device is calculated using a simple inverter configuration as shown in Figure 13. The simulation is carried out using the mixed-mode module in ATLAS device simulator. The device width is 45 µm for both the devices. Input pulse rises to 5 V in 50 ps. It can be seen that the delay reduces from 21.8 ps to 8.7 ps in SG LDMOS device compared to ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 14. The SG LDMOS exhibits a 60.1 % improvement in the switching performance as compared to the ep+ LDMOS as shown in Figure 14. This is due to the reduced capacitance because of the stepped gate oxide structure and reduced ON–resistance due to the higher value of drift region doping in SG LDMOS. Both these improvements lead to a reduced RC time constant resulting in an enhanced speed performance.

Improving InGaAs LDMOS Power Transistors
6 5 Voltage, (V) 4 3 2 1 25.0 0 0 20 33.7 40 Time, (ps) 46.8 60 V VDS SG LDMOS + ep LDMOS

12

GS

Figure 14. Switching characteristics of SG LDMOS and ep+ LDMOS.

4. Conclusion A stepped gate LDMOS (SG LDMOS) using In0.53 Ga0.47 As channel has been proposed and compared with an LDMOS having an extended–p+ body (ep+ LDMOS). Using 2D device simulations, we demonstrate that the SG LDMOS exhibits a 49.7 % increase in the breakdown voltage, 43.8 % reduction in ON–resistance, 105.0 % increase in the range of transconductance , 33.6 % improvement in gate charge and 60.1 % increase in switching speed as compared to the ep+ LDMOS. Our results show that it is possible to improve all the performance parameters of an InGaAs LDMOS using a stepped gate structure instead of using a buried–p+ body. The performance of InGaAs devices will be further improved when the oxide–InGaAs interface defects are reduced with the advancement in the fabrication technology. References
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[12] Radosavljevic M, Chu-Kung B, Corcoran S, Dewey G, Hudait M K, Fastenau J M, Kavalieros J, Liu W K, Lubyshev D, Metz M, Millard K, Mukherjee N, Rachmady W, Shah U and Chau R 2009 Advanced high-k gate dielectric for high-performance short-channel In0.7 Ga0.3 As quantum well field effect transistors on silicon substrate for low power logic applications IEDM Tech. Dig., 2009 pp 1 –4 [13] Steighner J B, Yuan J S and Liu Y 2011 IEEE Trans. on Electron Devices 58 180 –189 [14] Silvaco Inc. Santa Clara, CA 2011 Atlas User’s Manual: Device Simulation Software [15] Johnson G A, Kapoor V J, Shokrani M, Messick L J, Nguyen R, Stall R A and McKee M A 1991 IEEE Trans. on Microwave Theory and Tech. 39 1069 –1075 [16] Sun S C and Plummer J D 1980 IEEE Trans. on Electron Devices 27 356 – 367 [17] Saxena R S and Kumar M J 2009 IEEE Trans. on Electron Devices 56 1355 –1359 [18] Hueting R J E, Hijzen E A, Heringa A, Ludikhuize A W and M A A in’t Zandt 2004 IEEE Trans. on Electron Devices 51 1323 – 1330 [19] International Rectifier El Segundo, CA Use gate charge to design the gate drive circuit for power MOSFETs and IGBT application Note AN-944

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