Localized strain relaxation effect on gamma irradiated AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors

Nahid Sultan Al-Mamun, Sergei Stepanoff, Aman Haque, Douglas E. Wolfe, Fan Ren, Stephen Pearton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Strain localization in microelectronic devices commonly arises from device geometry, materials, and fabrication processing. In this study, we controllably relieve the local strain field of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs by milling micro-trenches underneath the channel and compare the device performance as a function of the relieved strain as well as radiation dosage. Micro-Raman results suggest that the trenches locally relax the strain in device layers, decreasing the 2DEG density and mobility. Intriguingly, such strain relaxation is shown to minimize the radiation damage, measured after 10 Mrads of 60Co-gamma exposure. For example, a 6-trench device showed only ∼8% and ∼6% decrease in saturation drain current and maximum transconductance, respectively, compared to corresponding values of ∼15% and ∼30% in a no-trench device. Negative and positive threshold voltage shifts are observed in 6-trench and no-trench devices, respectively, after gamma radiation. We hypothesize that the extent of gamma radiation damage depends on the strain level in the devices. Thus, even though milling a trench decreases 2DEG mobility, such decrease under gamma radiation is far less in a 6-trench device (∼1.5%) compared to a no-trench device (∼20%) with higher built-in strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233502
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 5 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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