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25 DECEMBER 2000

Current transport mechanism of p-GaN Schottky contacts
Kenji Shiojimaa)
NTT Photonics Laboratories, 3-1 Morinosato Wakamiya, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa, 243-0198, Japan

Tomoya Sugahara and Shiro Sakai
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Tokushima University, 2-1 Minami-josanjima, Tokushima, 770-8506, Japan

͑Received 30 May 2000; accepted for publication 20 October 2000͒ Transient measurements of I – V and depletion layer capacitance were conducted to clarify the leaky current flow mechanism in Ni Schottky contacts formed on Mg-doped p -GaN. We found that carrier capture and emission from acceptor-like deep level defects cause depletion layer width ( W dep) to vary significantly. Upon ionization of the defects by white light, which results in small W dep , current can go through the Schottky barrier and a leaky I – V curve is observed. Upon filling by current injection, W dep becomes larger and the large original Schottky barrier height is seen. The time constant of carrier emission is as long as 8.3ϫ 103 min. © 2000 American Institute of Physics. ͓S0003-6951͑00͒04251-0͔

The recent progress in GaN-based optoelectronic devices, such blue light-emitting diodes,1 laser diodes,2 and ultraviolet detectors,3 points to the need for better ohmic contacts to p -GaN and a deeper understanding of the basic characteristics of metal/p -GaN interfaces. For n -GaN Schottky contacts, the Schottky barrier height ( q ␾ B ) has been found to basically depend on the metal work function due to the ionic nature of GaN,4,5 and q ␾ B of up to 1.5 eV has been reported.6 For p -GaN, a much higher q ␾ B ͑above 2 eV͒ is expected since the sum of the q ␾ B ’s of n and p types adds up to the band gap ( E g ) of 3.4 eV.7,8 However, the contacts tend to exhibit very leaky Schottky characteristics, i.e., a low barrier,9 but high series resistance.10 Consequently, the mechanism of current flow through the interface has not been established and the exact value of q ␾ B has not yet been estimated. We have reported improved leaky characteristics for Ni/ p -GaN Schottky contacts by means of low Mg doping and obtained q ␾ B as high as 2.4Ϯ 0.2 eV from I – V measurements, which is in good agreement with the previous prediction ( q ␾ BF ϭ E g Ϫ q ␾ Bn ). 11 This letter reports transient measurements of I – V and depletion layer capacitances ( C dep) conducted to characterize the leaky current flow mechanism of Ni/ p -GaN Schottky contacts. 2-␮m-thick Mg-doped GaN films were grown on ͑0001͒ sapphire substrates using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition.11 The Mg concentration was 1.3ϫ 1018 cmϪ3 according to secondary ion mass spectrometry ͑SIMS͒ measurements. The carrier concentration was estimated from capacitance–voltage ( C – V ) measurements at a modulation frequency of 40 Hz to be 6.2ϫ 1016 cmϪ3. Planar-type Schottky contacts were formed by the liftoff process and electron-beam evaporation. Ni͑30 nm͒/ Au͑150 nm͒ ohmic contacts were deposited, and then the samples were annealed at 450 °C for 5 min. After the surface oxide was removed in buffered hydrofluoric acid solution, Ni ͑100-nm-thick͒ Schottky contacts with both circular and recta͒

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angular patterns were deposited. The ohmic contacts surround the Schottky contacts with a gap of ϳ10 ␮m and are more than 100 times larger in area than the Schottky contacts. A sample with 100 ␮m ␾ circular dots was loaded in a measurement box and probes were lowered onto the contacts. The sample was illuminated by white light from various directions. The light went through the GaN gap region between the contacts, and was reflected at the metallic sample-mounting base. This resulted in illumination of the GaN layer and metal/semiconductor interfaces. Then, the viewing window was closed to darken the inside of the box, and the first measurement was conducted with forward biasing from 0 to 10 V at a sweep speed of about 2 V/min. Figure 1͑a͒ shows typical forward I – V curves of Ni/ p -GaN. The current linearly increased as the voltage increased to 0.5 V. In the voltage region between 0.5 and 4 V, the current saturated around 1 nA. Above 4 V, the current gradually increased to 2 ϫ 10Ϫ 7 A at 10 V ͓not shown in Fig. 1͑a͔͒. The time was set at t ϭ 0 at the end of this measurement ͑just after the bias voltage was swept to 10 V͒, and immediately a series of I – V measurements were carried out to observe any changes in the turn-on voltage. In order to avoid further current injection to the depletion layer, the measurements were stopped when the current reached 10Ϫ 10 A. The second I – V curve is completely different from the first one. The current is very small when the bias voltage is 2.5 V or less. The diode turns on above 2.5 V. Taking account of the time delay of biasing from 0 V to turn-on, this second curve is denoted as that obtained 2 min after the first measurement. Further I – V measurements were carried out up to 800 min after the first measurement. The absolute value of the turn-on voltage decreased as the time from the first measurement became longer. At any time, after illuminating the sample by white light and then putting it in the dark, the sample reproducibly showed the first I – V curve. These behaviors could be associated with deep level defects, such as ionization by illumination, trap filling by forward bias, and natural emission with a large time constant.

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deep levels in the depletion region were ionized and thus more carriers were generated in the intervening GaN region. N A is acceptor concentration. FIG. C – V measurements showed good linearity in a 1/C 2 plot.251. The C dep is calculated as12 C depϭ ͕ q ⑀ s ͓ N A ϩ N deep͑ x . 25 December 2000 Shiojima. C dep measurements for diodes with different junction areas were carried out. Figure 1͑b͒ shows the apparent q ␾ B .16 eV ( V biϭ q ␾ B Ϫ E Mg). 13͒.60m 0 ͒.211. N A should be constant and N deep should be a function of both position and time. and Vbi is a built-in potential. i.aip. the neutralization of some of the deep levels from the depletion edge. C dep increases and then saturates below 100 Hz. Due to the illumination. Finally. we will show that the original q ␾ B does not change and another current flow mechanism arises. Finally. the measurement was started. however. 9 Therefore.12 Later. 26. see http://apl.e. ͑a͒ Typical forward I – V curves of Ni/ p -GaN in a semilog plot. the contribution of series resistance and parallel conductance to the measurement was evaluated. C dep is calculated to be 125 pF.5 and 0. 77.858 eV and n is 1. the apparent q ␾ B and ideality factors ͑n values͒ were simply calculated in terms of only the thermionic emission model12 using J ϭ A ** T 2 exp͑ Ϫ q ␾ B / kT ͓͒ exp͑ qV / nkT ͒ Ϫ 1 ͔ . understanding the mechanism for the variation is very important.16 which may affect the series resistance. q ␾ B is over 1. ͑b͒ Apparent q ␾ B and n values as a function of the time from the first I – V measurement. is dominant in this decay. C dep saturated at around 375 pF. Therefore. In order to estimate the level of the change in the I – V curves. however. That is close to the measured C dep 30 s after the biasing. some preliminary examinations were conducted in order to establish the proper measurement condition ͑details are in Ref.2ϫ 1016 cmϪ3 Mg acceptors are ionized. The measurement frequency chosen was 40 Hz. C dep was the same and the Q value was over 30.234. Trap filling by the biasing is a reasonable . In our measurements. q ␾ B is as high as 2.45 eV and n is as low as 1. q ␾ B is 0.. Prior to the measurements.76 eV. When the illumination was turned off. After applying forward bias voltage of 5 V for 10 min. and n value from I – V measurements as a function of the time from the first measurement. N deep is deep-level-defect concentration.4354 Appl. At the second ( t ϭ 2 min͒. which is low enough to treat Mg as a shallow dopant. After closing the viewing window to darken the inside of the box. C dep was still as small as 205 pF 800 min after biasing. Even after 800 min. The sample was mounted in the measurement box and illuminated as in the I – V measurement. It is concluded that the apparent q ␾ B widely ranges from a large value expected by q ␾ B P ϭ E g Ϫ q ␾ Bn to a small value close to reported ones with higher Mg-doping p -GaN.and n -GaN exhibit persistent photoconductivity ͑PPC͒. ͑2͒ where ⑀ s is a dielectric constant.14 Our results are very similar. In order to investigate this behavior more quantitatively.jsp where A ** is the effective Richardson constant ͑72 A/cm2 K2 for p -GaN with m * ϭ 0. C dep was completely proportional to the area. so that the ohmic capacitance can be neglected. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright.15. the transient response of C dep was measured using a precision LCR meter ͑HP 4284A͒. we started the measurement ( t ϭ 0). This large variation of C dep indicates a large density of deep level as the frequency decreases. Assuming all deep levels are neutralized by the forward bias ( N deepϭ 0) and only 6. At the first measurement ( t ϭ 0). Huang reported that there is a modulation frequency dispersion of C dep because the activation energy levels of the Mg acceptors are relatively deep ͑ϳ160 meV͒ and the ionization of the acceptors can not follow the modulation at higher frequencies. C dep dropped to 100–115 pF ͑30 s after the biasing͒ once. The q ␾ B gradually decreases and n increases as time increases. 2. and then exponentially increased. It is well known that both p. ͑1͒ Downloaded 04 Mar 2009 to 132. Transient response of C dep at V ϭ 0 V in the dark. Lett. not PPC.93.73. where q ␾ B and a Mg level are 2. C dep exponentially decreased as measurement time increased and saturated at around 375 pF. Figure 2 shows the transient response of C dep at dc biasϭ 0 V for the sample with 726 ␮ mϫ 395 ␮ m rectangular dots in the dark. t ͔͒ /2V bi͖ Ϫ 1/2. In both series and parallel mode measurements. and Sakai FIG. Vol.. 1. the dominant component is C dep and the contribution of these factors can be neglected. even though the sample was illuminated. No. Sugahara. Second. as described before. Phys.

W. 1983 ͑1997͒. In our preliminary analysis of the C – t measurements. T. 13 K. 70. 255 ͑1998͒. M. Lett. Jpn. Harrison and J. No. Hauenstein. McGill. would be dominant. S. 68. D. L7 ͑1998͒. 69. Yamasaki. F. and M. Mukai. 10 H. Electron. Appl. N. 1068 ͑1986͒. Electron. Morkoc ¸ . J. J.211. After the biasing. 1974 ͑1995͒. Phys. 25 December 2000 Shiojima. This process is repeatable by illumination by white light or current injection. Tanaka. T. Nakamura. J. Kobayashi. 3. 2nd ed. Spectroscopic defect characterization techniques. H. Appl. F. K. 9 T. M. H. A. Lu. Sakai. Appl. T. Lett. Z. When the sample is loaded into the measurement box. 3. L1517 ͑1995͒. Lett. A. S. Senoh. T. Mater. Shibata. Sugahara. current can go through the barrier and a leaky I – V curve ͑low apparent q ␾ B ͒ is observed. B 4. 81. Based on these results. and a current can go through the barrier ͑a͒. 245–311. the origin is unclear. Ishikawa. Qui and J. H. Appl. V. T.. Van Hove.234. J. There are acceptor-like deep level defects in p -GaN and their concentration ( N deep) is much larger than that of shallow acceptor impurities ( N A ). 3537 ͑1996͒. Reitz. Lett. Kuech. Our SIMS measurements showed that both Mg (1. Vac. 831 ͑1996͒. transient measurements of I – V . When W dep is small. The reason the forward current slightly decreased around 1 nA when the applied voltage was increased from 0. Lett.3 ϫ 103 min. As expected from the I – V results. J. and M. A. This would explain the apparent low q ␾ B and large n value. Appl. 77. Murakami. Appl. and I. Sze. C. Appl. 26. Sakai. Appl.. and S. 14 J. Li. Egawa. and M. A. J. Phys.. When forward bias is applied. 1981͒. Phys. Appl. 60. The estimated time constant of this emission was about 8. 1687 ͑1994͒. J. H. S. Part 1 ͑to be published͒. Part 2 34. Phys. Mori. N. and Sakai 4355 FIG. Phys. Umeno. and the original large q ␾ B is seen ͑b͒. the tunneling current could flow via a trap level or not and it. G. I. Akasaki. T. T. and I. Phys. Part 2 37. Y. X. Shiojima. explanation. at present. the deep levels are ionized. Band diagrams of metal/ p -GaN with carrier capture and emission by deep level defects. S. Shiojima and S. 74. J. Carter. the band diagrams of a metal/ p -GaN contact for each stage were devised. such as photocapacitance and the temperature dependence of transient capacitance. Sakai. The time constant of carrier emission is as long as 8. Technol. Ping. J. M. Jpn. Nagai. Khan. Lett. Salvador. O. 1 2 Downloaded 04 Mar 2009 to 132. Adesida. J. 8 W. but. and C. pp. Phys. C dep becomes large. Carrier capture and emission from deep level defects cause W dep to vary significantly. J. Botchkarev. Phys. Phys. S. The W dep becomes larger and C dep smaller. Jiang. and H. Appl. and L. Huang. Koike. Due to this high concentration. S. Wang. F. 25. Lin. 64. H. N. Sci. Vol.. New York. Koike. When W dep is large. Bhat. Phys. Mater. T. Phys. Asami. Chen. Jimbo. Lett. Ishikawa. Irvine. Yamasaki. Jpn. Lett. the large original q ␾ B is seen. C. The band diagrams are shown in Fig. Y. Koike. 7 M. see http://apl. Amano. 2917 ͑1992͒. I. A. Ohwaki. H. T. Khan. Tersoff. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright. Kalinina. and C dep were conducted to clarify the leaky current flow mechanism of Ni/ p -GaN Schottky contacts. 69. J. J. very-deep-level defects can be found. Since the time constant is very long. J. Swenberg. Appl. Phys. Koide. 1 is that trap filling occurred due to the forward current and tunneling current was impeded. 4 A. T. Kuznia. Kozawa. M.jsp . these decays are reproducible by either forward-biasing or illumination. Jr. Appl. ͑Wiley. the deep-level defects are filled due to the current crossing the interface and become neutral. Olson.aip. Phys. N deep is larger than 3 ϫ 1018 cmϪ3. 6 H. Lett. 1315 ͑1997͒. 27. Umezaki. W. Taga. 1936 ͑1999͒. W. M. would provide more information. 5 E. K. T.251. this contact can be used as a memory device.7 to 3 V in the first I – V curve in Fig. Yang. 3 M. Nagai. Pankove. Soda.3 ϫ 103 min. 11 K. J. 2392 ͑1996͒. The basic concept is that the large original q ␾ B is constant and hole capture and emission to deep levels significantly vary depletion layer width ( W dep). I.3 ϫ 1018 cmϪ3͒ and O( Ͻ 1 ϫ 1017 cmϪ3) concentration were less than N deep . and M. Temperature dependence measurements of I – V characteristics would reveal the current flow mechanism. Y. Dmitriev. Nakamura. and M. S. 1474 ͑1996͒. Q. Blasingame. Physics of Semiconductor Devices. Schmitz. Consequently. V. 15 J. Kuznetsov. A. The state can be flip-flopped by illumination or current injection at any time. 16 C. S. the deep level defects are ionized by white light and W dep becomes smaller. 12 S. In conclusion. and R. not the thermionic emission. As a result of the large q ␾ B formed. A. McCaldin.Appl. 66.