Dielectric reliability in GaN metal-insulator-semiconductor high electron mobility transistors
Author(s)Lee, Ethan S
Dielectric reliability in gallium nitride metal-insulator-semiconductor high electron mobility transistors
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Jesús A. del Alamo
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GaN Metal Insulator Semiconductor High Electron Mobility Transistors (GaN MIS-HEMTs) show excellent promise as high voltage power transistors that can operate efficiently at high temperatures and frequencies. However, current GaN technology faces several obstacles, one of which is Time-Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB) of the gate dielectric. Under prolonged electrical stress, the gate dielectric suffers a catastrophic breakdown that renders the transistor useless. Understanding the physics behind gate dielectric breakdown and accurately estimating the average time to failure of the dielectric are of critical importance. TDDB is conventionally studied under DC conditions. However, as actual device operation in power circuits involves rapid switching between on and off states, it is important to determine if estimations done from DC stress results are accurate. Due to the rich dynamics of the GaN MIS-HEMT system such as electron trapping and carrier accumulation at the dielectric/AlGaN interface, unaccounted physics might be introduced under AC stress that may cause error in DC estimation. To this end, we characterize TDDB behavior of GaN MIS-HEMTs at both DC stress conditions and more accurate AC stress conditions. We find that TDDB behavior is improved for AC stress compared to DC stress conditions at high stress frequencies. At 100 kHz, the average dielectric breakdown time is twice the average dielectric breakdown time under DC stress conditions. Furthermore, the impact of tensile mechanical stress on TDDB under DC stress is investigated. This is an important concern because of the piezoelectric nature of GaN and the substantial lattice mismatch between Si, GaN and AlGaN that results in high mechanical strain in the active portion of the device. If mechanical stress significantly impacts TDDB, designers will have to work with further constraints to ensure minimal stress across the dielectric. To address this, we have carried out measurements of TDDB under [epsilon] = 0.29% tensile strain. We find that TDDB in both the On-state and Off-state stress conditions are unaffected by this mechanical stress. Through measurements done in this thesis, we gather further insight towards understanding the physics behind TDDB. Through AC stress we find that the dynamics of the GaN MIS-HEMTs prolong dielectric breakdown times. Through mechanical stress we find that modulation of the 2-Dimensional Electron Gas and dielectric bond straining have minimal impact on TDDB.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2018.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-74).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.