Sub-bandgap response of graphene/SiC Schottky emitter bipolar phototransistor examined by scanning photocurrent microscopy

Bobby G. Barker, Venkata Surya N. Chava, Kevin M. Daniels, M. V.S. Chandrashekhar, Andrew B. Greytak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Graphene layers grown epitaxially on SiC substrates are attractive for a variety of sensing and optoelectronic applications because the graphene acts as a transparent, conductive, and chemically responsive layer that is mated to a wide-bandgap semiconductor with large breakdown voltage. Recent advances in control of epitaxial growth and doping of SiC epilayers have increased the range of electronic device architectures that are accessible with this system. In particular, a recently-introduced Schottky-emitter bipolar phototransistor (SEPT) based on an epitaxial graphene (EG) emitter grown on a p-SiC base epilayer has been found to exhibit a maximum common emitter current gain of 113 and a UV responsivity of 7.1 A W-1. The behavior of this device, formed on an n +-SiC substrate that serves as the collector, was attributed to a very large minority carrier injection efficiency at the EG/p-SiC Schottky contact. This large minority carrier injection efficiency is in turn related to the large built-in potential found at a EG/p-SiC Schottky junction. The high performance of this device makes it critically important to analyze the sub bandgap visible response of the device, which provides information on impurity states and polytype inclusions in the crystal. Here, we employ scanning photocurrent microscopy (SPCM) with sub-bandgap light as well as a variety of other techniques to clearly demonstrate a localized response based on the graphene transparent electrode and an approximately 1000-fold difference in responsivity between 365 nm and 444 nm excitation. A stacking fault propagating from the substrate/epilayer interface, assigned as a single layer of the 8H-SiC polytype within the 4H-SiC matrix, is found to locally increase the photocurrent substantially. The discovery of this polytype heterojunction opens the potential for further development of heteropolytype devices based on the SEPT architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011003
Journal2D Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • 4H
  • 4SSF
  • 8H
  • OBIC
  • SPCM
  • silicon carbide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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