Surface photovoltage studies of p -type AlGaN layers after reactive-ion etching

Joy Dorene McNamara, K. L. Phumisithikul, A. A. Baski, J. Marini, F. Shahedipour-Sandvik, S. Das, M. A. Reshchikov

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    3 Scopus citations


    The surface photovoltage (SPV) technique was used to study the surface and electrical properties of Mg-doped, p-type AlxGa1-xN (0.06 < x < 0.17) layers. SPV measurements reveal significant deviation from previous SPV studies on p-GaN:Mg thin films and from the predictions of a thermionic model for the SPV behavior. In particular, the SPV of the p-AlGaN:Mg layers exhibited slower-than-expected transients under ultraviolet illumination and delayed restoration to the initial dark value. The slow transients and delayed restorations can be attributed to a defective surface region which interferes with normal thermionic processes. The top 45 nm of the p-AlGaN:Mg layer was etched using a reactive-ion etch which caused the SPV behavior to be substantially different. From this study, it can be concluded that a defective, near-surface region is inhibiting the change in positive surface charge by allowing tunneling or hopping conductivity of holes from the bulk to the surface, or by the trapping of electrons traveling to the surface by a high concentration of defects in the near-surface region. Etching removes the defective layer and reveals a region of presumably higher quality, as evidenced by substantial changes in the SPV behavior.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number155304
    JournalJournal of Applied Physics
    Issue number15
    StatePublished - Oct 21 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Physics and Astronomy


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