Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Hadis Morkoç


In this work Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy (SKPM) was used to characterize surface states and device surface charging in nitride materials. Samples grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy (HVPE) typically show a high surface band bending of about 1 eV. In an n-type sample with 3X1017 cm-3 carrier concentration, 1 eV upward band bending corresponds to 1.7X1012 cm-2 trapped charge density in the surface states. Under continuous ultraviolet (UV) illumination up to 0.6 eV surface photo voltage effect could be observed in some samples, which further indicates that surface band bending is very likely larger than 0.6 eV, i.e. close to 1 eV. Reactive Ion Etching (RIE)damage was observed to increase surface band bending by about 0.4 eV where as surface treatments in organic solvents and inorganic acids did not affect surface band bending significantly. These results indicate presence of high density of surface states in devices fabricated in nitride materials. Surface potential measurements immediately after turning off a reverse bias to the Schottky contact of a GaN Schottky diode as well as an AlGaN/GaN Hetero-junction Field Effect Transistor (HFET) show an increase of band bending near the Schottky contact edge. For an applied reverse bias of 4 V, about 0.5 eV increase of band bending was observed. This increase of band bending was caused by tunneling of electrons from the Schottky contact and their subsequent capture by surface states near the contact edge. In case of the HFET, the increase of band bending for a bias that caused no current flow through the device was similar to a bias that did. This showed that hot electron injection from the channel did not play a significant role in increasing surface band bending. The accumulated charge near the gate edge of a HFET can deplete the channel, which would cause the drain current to decrease. The total times of accumulation and dissipation of excess surface charge near the gate edge of the HFET were comparable to the time scales of drain current transients of current collapse and recovery. From this observation we attributed current collapse phenomena to charge accumulation near the edge of the reverse biased gate contact of a HFET.


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Date of Submission

June 2008