M. Norman-Reiner1, E. Freier1, A. Mogilatenko1, I. Ostermay1, V. Hoffmann1, R. Szukiewicz2, O. Krüger1, D. Hommel2, S. Einfeldt1, M. Weyers1, and G. Tränkle1
J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 032211 (2020).
In this paper, the properties of Pd-based p-contacts on GaN-based laser diodes are discussed. Pd is often the metal of choice for ohmic contacts on p-GaN. However, for Pd/p-GaN ohmic contacts, nanovoids observed at the metal/semiconductor interface can have a negative impact on reliability and also reproducibility. The authors present a thorough analysis of the microstructure of the Pd/p-GaN interface by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). STEM data show that the microvoids at the p-GaN/Pd interface form during rapid thermal annealing. A combination of the following effects is suggested to support the void formation: (1) the differences in thermal expansion coefficients of the materials; (2) excess matrix or impurity atoms in the semiconductor, at the interface, and in the metals, which are released as gases; and (3) the strong antisurfactant effect of Pd on Ga-rich p-GaN surfaces. A slow temperature ramp during contact annealing reduces the formation of voids likely by suppressing the accumulation of gases at the interface. XPS data show that the Ga/N ratio can be reduced by suitable cleaning of the p-GaN surface, which enhances Pd adhesion. As a result, the quality of the contact system is improved by the systematic optimization of the surface cleanliness as well as the annealing parameters, leading to void-free and clean Pd/p-GaN interfaces. The specific contact resistance, extracted from linear transmission line method measurements, is reduced by an order of magnitude to 2 × 10-3 Ω cm2 at 1 mA for the same epitaxial layer stack.
1 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Straße 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Wroclaw Research Center EIT+, Department of Semiconductor Nanostructures, ul. Stablowicka 147, 54-066 Wroclaw, Poland
© 2020 AIP Publishing LLC. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from AIP Publishing LLC.
Full version in pdf-format.