Degradations in the electrical and structural characteristics of Schottky diodes and ohmic contacts to GaAs due to thermal aging

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The reliability of GaAs microwave devices is directly related to the integrity of Schottky and ohmic contacts for Schottky barrier devices and metal/semiconductor field effect transistor devices. The interface analysis of these device structures using surface analysis techniques has become extremely important in the study of the degradation of these devices. The research reported here focuses on three different metallic systems, namely Au/In, Au-12 wt.% Ge and Ni/AuGe, for both Schottky and ohmic contacts. The three metallic systems were evaporated onto 〈100;〉- oriented GaAs substrates (ND=3×1017 cm-3) in an ultrahigh vacuum system. These samples were thermally aged by keeping them at 150°C for 500h. Current-voltage and capacitance-voltage measurements were made on as-deposited and thermally aged samples. The ideality factor decreased in all the samples. There was an apparent large increase in barrier height in AuGe/GaAs and Ni/AuGe/GaAs Schottky diodes. There was an insignificant change in the contact resistivity of ohmic contacts after thermal aging. The changes in the electrical characteristics of these device structures are explained on the basis of the formation of an oxide layer after thermal aging. A comparison of the Auger depth profiles of the as-deposited and the thermally aged samples substantiates the electrical observations. However, Au/In/GaAs Schottky diodes do not show the existence of an oxide layer at the interface. The out-diffusion of indium to the surface might have removed the oxygen from the interface to result in an Au-GaAs interface in the thermally aged sample. A slight increase in the barrier height of this sample is due to the Au-GaAs interface rather than the In-GaAs interface. © 1985.

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Thin Solid Films