Nanoscale structural and chemical analysis of F-implanted enhancement-mode InAlN/GaN heterostructure field effect transistors

02 Mar 2018

We investigate the impact of a fluorine plasma treatment used to obtain enhancement-mode operation on the structure and chemistry at the nanometer and atomic scales of an InAlN/GaN field effect transistor. The fluorine plasma treatment is successful in that enhancement mode operation is achieved with a + 2.8 V threshold voltage. However, the InAlN barrier layers are observed to have been damaged by the fluorine treatment with their thickness being reduced by up to 50%. The treatment also led to oxygen incorporation within the InAlN barrier layers. Furthermore, even in the as-grown structure, Ga was unintentionally incorporated during the growth of the InAlN barrier. The impact of both the reduced barrier thickness and the incorporated Ga within the barrier on the transistor properties have been evaluated theoretically and compared to the experimentally determined two dimensional electron gas density and threshold voltage of the transistor. For devices without fluorine treatment, the two dimensional electron gas density is better predicted if the quaternary nature of the barrier is taken into account. For the fluorine treated device not only the changes to the barrier layer thickness and composition but also the fluorine doping needs to be considered to predict device performance. These studies reveal the factors influencing the performance of these specific transistor structures and highlight the strengths of the applied nanoscale characterisation techniques in revealing information relevant to device performance.