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PERGAMON Solid State Communications 113 (2000) 539542

Ultrafast electron drift velocity overshoot in 3CSiC

E.W.S. Caetano a,*, E.F. Bezerra a, V.N. Freire a, J.A.P. da Costa b, E.F. da Silva Jr c
Departamento de Fsica, Universidade Federal do Ceara, Caixa Postal 6030, Campus do Pici, 60455-760 Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Departamento de Fsica Teorica e Experimental, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Caixa Postal 1641, 59072-970 Natal,
Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Departamento de Fsica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Cidade Universitaria, 50670-901 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Received 22 July 1999; accepted 22 July 1999 by D. Van Dyck; received in final form by the Publisher 15 November 1999

A theoretical study on the ultrafast high-field transport transient properties of electrons in 3CSiC is performed within a
parabolic and a nonparabolic band scheme. In both cases, the transient regime before the electron energy and drift velocity
attain their steady-state is shown to be shorter than 0.2 ps. When the applied electric field intensity is higher than 300 kV/cm, an
overshoot always occurs in the electron drift velocity, which is more pronounced when band nonparabolicity is considered.
q 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: A. Semiconductors; D. Electronic transport

Silicon carbide (SiC) carries a great potential for a new properties such as high mobility and high saturated drift
generation of advanced devices due to its physical (e.g. high velocity, associated with further developments on the
stability, strong SiC chemical bonding, large thermal growth processes, make 3CSiC of great potential for
conductivity, etc.) and electrical (e.g. high saturation developing high temperature and hazard safe electronic
velocity, large breakdown fields, low leakage current, etc.) devices. 6HSiC Eg 2:86 eV is very promising for
properties. SiC may crystallize in either cubic or hexagonal blue laser and light-emitting diode applications, but it has
forms, presenting a large number of polytypes. 3C, 2H, the lowest mobility of the polytypes, which is a drawback in
4H and 6HSiC are some of the silicon carbide polytypes, several applications. In contrast, the high mobility and high
each presenting characteristics that are particularly suitable saturation drift velocity of 3CSiC makes it an important
for high-power, high-temperature, high-frequency, radiation- candidate not only for high-speed electronics, but also for
resistant, and light-emitting device applications. According high-temperature and high-power device developments up
to ab initio calculations [14], the SiC polytypes have a to the submicron level. The improvement of the SiC growth
wide range of band gaps (1.272.10 eV) as well as carriers processes in the last years overcame several problems with
effective masses due to the remarkable differences in their sample preparation [58], and has a key role in those
band structures. The polytypes 3CSiC Eg 2:39 eV and achievements.
6HSiC Eg 2:86 eV have been extensively studied, in For reduced size devices, and in particular for high-speed/
part because they present the highest saturation velocities high-field switching applications, nonstationary physical
under strong applied external electric fields, which suggests conditions are often imposed upon electron transport
potential applications for submicron high-speed devices in mechanisms, which lead to the electron drift velocity and
the high-temperature domain. energy time transients before steady-state transport con-
Although the best crystal quality nowadays has been ditions are attained. To date, investigations of the SiC
attained with the 6HSiC polytype, consideration of high-field transport were restricted only to steady-state
phenomena, principally the electron saturated drift velocity
* Corresponding author. Fax: 155-85-2874138. determination. Since the high-field electron transport
E-mail address: (E.W.S. Caetano). transient should be important due to possible conduction
0038-1098/00/$ - see front matter q 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S0038-109 8(99)00522-0
540 E.W.S. Caetano et al. / Solid State Communications 113 (2000) 539542

electron transport in 4HSiC using a two-band model

with multiple minima, obtaining a 33% lower velocity
saturation in the c direction than that calculated by Joshi

ity (10 7cm /s
[12] considering a simple nonparabolic band. Tsukioka et
6 al. [13] have investigated the high-field steady-state trans-
port in 3CSiC within the single valley isotropic model and
4 have taken into account both parabolic and nonparabolic

D rift Veloc
9 bands. They showed that the steady-state electron drift
velocity has a gentle peak around 1:9 107 cm=s for a
E (1

6 2
field of 4 105 V=cm; and that nonparabolic effects are
0 k

3 0.20 responsible for decreasing the steady-state electron drift

V /c

0 0.10 velocity and energy. Monte Carlo simulations have been

0.00 e (p the overwhelmingly preferred tool for these investigations

T im
[9,1113], although recently a hydrodynamic balance
equation method [10] has also been used. According to
these works, acoustic deformation potential, polar-optical
phonon, intervalley phonon, ionized-impurity and impact
ionization are the main scattering mechanisms determining
Energy (eV)

the steady-state high-field electron transport in the 4H,

6H, and 3CSiC polytypes.
To investigate the time evolution of the mean electron
0.4 drift velocity vt and energy et in 3CSiC, the following
9 two coupled Boltzmann-like transport equations are solved

numerically within the momentum and energy relaxation


3 0.20

0.10 time approximation:


0 0.05
(p s )

0.00 dvt qE vt
T im e

2 ; 1

dt mc tp e
Fig. 1. Time evolution towards the steady-state of the mean drift
velocity (top) and energy (bottom) of electrons in 3CSiC calcu- det et 2 eL
qvtE 2 ; 2
lated within the parabolic band scheme. dt te e
where eL 3kB TL =2 is the average electron thermal energy
channel shrinkage in SiC devices, it is necessary to have at the lattice temperature TL; tp e and te e are the momen-
information on the ultrafast transport transient properties tum and energy relaxation times, respectively; kB is the
of silicon carbides. Boltzmann constant, q is the electric charge of the electron.
The purpose of this work is to present, for the first time, an The numerical calculations are performed for electric
investigation of the ultrafast high-field transport behavior of fields 0 , E , 1000 kV=cm taking into account both para-
electrons in 3CSiC during the transient regime, both within bolic and nonparabolic SiC band structures, the latter
the parabolic and nonparabolic band scheme. It is shown considering "2 k2 =2m e1 1 ae; where a 0:323 eV is
that the time for the electron drift velocity and energy to the nonparabolic coefficient, and m is the electron effective
arrive at their steady-state in 3CSiC under electric fields E mass [13]. As in Ref. [13], the electric field is assumed to be
up to 1000 kV/cm is shorter than 0.2 ps. The band non- applied in the k111l direction for the sake of disregarding
parabolicity considerably enhances the electron velocity electron redistribution among equivalent valleys, and to
overshoot occurring for E . 150 kV=cm: minimize the electron population in higher-lying subsidiary
In the domain of high-field transport in wide gap semi- minima. This approach allows the calculations to be
conductors, the pioneering work developed by Ferry [9] performed within a single equivalent isotropic valley picture
(which dates back more than 20 years) presented a [13], in which the electron conduction mass m 0:313m0
theoretical investigation of the cubic SiC steady-state trans- (m0 is the free electron mass).
port properties based on the balance equation method. New Instead of using expressions for the relaxation times, the
and interesting results on SiC-polytypes steady-state trans- steady-state relations e E and v E as calculated by
port properties followed only recently. Weng and Cui [10] Tsukioka et al. [13] allow one to obtain the momentum
studied the high temperature hot electron steady-state trans- and energy relaxation times, te e and tp e; respectively,
port in 6H and 3CSiC, finding that the electron drift within the successful scheme pioneered by Shur [14], Roll-
velocities in both polytypes exhibit a gentle peak in the and et al. [15], Carnez et al. [16], and Nougier et al. [17].
electron drift velocityelectric field relation. Nilsson et al. This scheme was used by Alencar et al. [18] to investigate
[11] have performed a simulation of the steady-state the high-field transport transient of minority carriers in
E.W.S. Caetano et al. / Solid State Communications 113 (2000) 539542 541

smaller than 10 kV/cm [18]. On the other hand, it is only

twice as fast as the high-field transport transient of electrons
in bulk GaN zinc-blende and wurtzite subjected to electric

field intensities up to 100 kV/cm [22].

ity (10 7cm /s

6 For steady-state conditions (longer time scale) the results
shown in Figs. 1 and 2 reproduce very well those obtained
4 by Tsukioka et al. [13]. In the parabolic band scheme the

D rift Veloc
9 scattering mechanisms are not enough to saturate the mean
2 electron drift velocity (which increases monotonically when
E (1

the electric field becomes stronger) and to avoid a rapid
0 k


0.20 mean electron energy increase, as shown in Fig. 1. This


0 0.10 behavior is due to a polar runaway [13], that becomes

cm )

0.00 s) effective in 3CSiC for electric fields E . 100 kV=cm:
e (p
T im
When nonparabolic band effects are taken into account,
polar runaway is not observed (see Fig. 2). The steady-
state mean electron drift velocity is stabilized, presenting
a maximum gentle peak around 400 kV/cm, after which it
decreases smoothly. The steady-state mean electron energy
Energy (eV)

obtained considering nonparabolic band effects does not
increase as much as that calculated within the parabolic
band scheme, which is due to the very effective role of the
0.4 isotropic intervalley phonon scattering mechanism in
9 dissipating the electron energy.

For a given electric field intensity and at a given instant,


3 0.20

0.15 the mean electron drift velocity and energy are higher when

0 0.10
0.05 calculated within the parabolic band scheme since impact

0.00 (p s )

T im e

ionization and polar-optical scattering are less effective than

isotropic intervalley phonon scattering, dominating the
Fig. 2. Time evolution towards the steady-state of the mean drift relaxation rates of energy and momentum. In both the
velocity (top) and energy (bottom) of electrons in 3CSiC calcu- parabolic and nonparabolic schemes it is shown, for the
lated within the nonparabolic band scheme.
first time to the knowledge of the authors, that the mean
electron drift velocity in 3CSiC can overshoot its steady-
p-GaAs, and by Caetano et al. [19] to study high-magnetic- state value when the applied electric field intensity is higher
field effects on the terahertz mobility of hot electrons in n- than 150 kV/cm. The overshoot effect occurs at low fields
type InSb. Recently, Foutz et al. [20] compared transient E , 300 kV=cm because the momentum relaxation rate of
electron transport results in wurtzite GaN, InN, and AlN the electron is larger than its energy relaxation rate [23,24].
calculated with Monte Carlo and the energy-momentum The results presented in this paper suggest that the tran-
balance approach, finding a quite reasonable overall agree- sient electron transport in wide band gap 3CSiC devices
ment. The great advantage is that the solution approach used can be as fast as in nitride compounds [20]. They indicate
in this work requires a shorter computation time in also that steady-state relations can be retained during 3C
comparison with the full Monte Carlo method. The acoustic- SiC device simulation for channels in the mm range. These
deformation-potential, the polar-optical phonon, two implications should stimulate the experimental confirmation
different equivalent-intervalley phonon, the ionized- of the ultrafast high-field transport properties of electrons in
impurity and the impact ionization are the electron scatter- 3CSiC, which is a formidable task. Finally, it is important
ing channels used in the calculations. to highlight that the high-field transport description used in
The time evolution of both the mean drift velocity (top this work requires shorter computation time in comparison
panels) and mean energy (bottom panels) of electrons in with the full Monte Carlo method, but the results should be
3CSiC subjected to electric field intensities up to recognized, however, as very good approximations instead
1000 kV/cm are presented in Figs. 1 and 2, the former of giving strictly accurate figures.
obtained within a parabolic band picture, while non- In conclusion, ultrafast high-field transport properties of
parabolic band effects are considered to calculate the results electrons in 3CSiC were studied considering a parabolic
presented in the latter. One can observe in both figures that and a nonparabolic band structure description. In both cases,
vt and et attain their steady-state in less than 0.2 ps, it was found that the transient regime for the mean electron
which is about 10 times faster than the high-field transport drift velocity and energy before attaining steady-state
transient of electrons in GaAs [16,17,21] and of minority values is shorter than 0.2 ps. An overshoot in the mean
carriers in p-GaAs subjected to electric field intensities electron drift velocity was observed for fields higher than
542 E.W.S. Caetano et al. / Solid State Communications 113 (2000) 539542

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