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ZrO2 gate dielectrics produced by ultraviolet ozone oxidation for GaN and AlGaN/GaN transistors


We investigated the suitability of ZrO2 as a high-k dielectric for GaN material systems. Thin Zr films (4 nm) were deposited by electron-beam evaporation at room temperature oil n-type GaN and Al(0.22)Gao(0.78)N (29 nm)/GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) structures. The Zr-coated samples were subsequently oxidized at temperatures in the range of 200-400 degrees C in an ozone environment. Atomic force microscopy studies after oxidation show that the ZrO2 forms a conformal layer on the underlying GaN template. Cross-section transmission electron microscopy studies showed little intermixing of the ZrO2 with the AlGaN/GaN. The relative dielectric constant of the ZrO2 was determined to be 23. In comparison with HEMTs with bare gates (no dielectric between the gate metal and AlGaN), the HEMTs with ZrO2 showed two to three order of magnitude reduction in gate leakage current. Optimization of the HEMT process on sapphire substrates with ZrO2 under the gates yielded devices with powers of 3.8 W/mm and 58% power-added efficiency at 4 GHz. (c) 2006 American Vacuum Society.

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