Analysis of the residual stress distribution in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors

Sukwon Choi, Eric Heller, Donald Dorsey, Ramakrishna Vetury, Samuel Graham

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A comparative analysis of the residual stress distributions across the conductive channel of Ga-face AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) is presented. Stress was measured by means of micro-Raman spectroscopy and micro-photoluminescence (PL). Raman measurements probed the volume average of the stress through the GaN layer whereas the stress near the GaN surface (AlGaN/GaN heterointerface) was acquired via PL. By combining Raman, PL, and x-ray diffraction, a self-consistent method was developed to accurately determine the variation in magnitude of stress throughout the thickness of the GaN layer. Based on this framework, it is observed in AlGaN/GaN HEMTs that a depth variation in the GaN residual stress occurs near the gate and ohmic electrodes. At these regions, the stress near the AlGaN/GaN interface (or GaN surface) exhibits a tensile shift compared to the stress averaged through the entire thickness of GaN. Across the conductive channel (away from the metal pads), the bulk average stress and the stress near this interface remain nearly identical, showing little evidence of a vertical gradient. It is expected that the induced tensile strain at the drain side gate edge will have an impact on device reliability by contributing to the elastic energy built in the AlGaN barrier in addition to the inverse piezoelectric contribution at operating conditions, which may lead to formation of crystallographic defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093510
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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