Effect of 60Co gamma-irradiation on two-dimensional electron gas transport and device characteristics of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs

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The effect of 60Co gamma-irradiation on Al0.33Ga0.67N/GaN high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) has been investigated using DC and geometrical magnetoresistance measurements. The devices studied were of similar epitaxial structure, yet differed in the doping levels of the Al0.33Ga0.67N barrier layer: (A) nominally undoped and (B) Si-doped with SiNx passivation. Exposure to cumulative gamma-ray doses up to 20 Mrad(Si) is shown to induce significant changes in drain-current level, threshold voltage and gate leakage current level. Analysis of magnetoresistance characteristics measured at 80 K indicated that irradiation induced an increase in two-dimensional electron-gas (2DEG) density, which leads to negative threshold voltage shifts observable in the drain current versus gate voltage characteristics, attributable to the introduction of defect centers in the Al0.33Ga0.67N layer and/or at the gate-AlGaN interface. The 2DEG mobility-concentration profiles are shown to remain approximately unchanged for doses up to 20 Mrad(Si). Device failure, evidenced as loss of gate control over the channel and/or excessive gate leakage, occurred after exposure to 30 Mrad(Si) for device A, whereas sample B failed after 20 Mrad(Si) total dose due to failure of half of the gate contact. Degradation of gate and source/drain contacts characteristics with total dose appears to limit the tolerance of the studied HEMTs to 60Co gamma-irradiation. (© 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2581-2584
JournalPhysica status solidi (c)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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