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Schottky contacts

• Schottky contacts are Evac
formed when
M s 
 Doping in the
semiconductor is not very EF
high i.e. > ~5x1018 cm-3
 The metal work function is
greater than the n- type
semiconductor work M > +Ec-EF = S
function For n-type semiconductor and
 The metal work function is reverse for p-type
lower than p-type  = Schottky contact Electrons from
semiconductor work Bn
conduction band
function M - or in the metal
 Very high density of faces barrier to
surface states “pinning” the n doped free movement,
Fermi level at the surface and tunneling is
w.r.t. the conduction band also not easy
(Example: GaAs)
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Ohmic contacts
Ohmic contact by band alignment
B = M -
 EF
M < +Ec-EF = S
For n-type
n doped
Reverse for p-type
• Usually for compound
semiconductors the ohmic contact Ohmic contact by high doping
by band alignment is hard to
realize due to surface states and Electrons from
Fermi pinning. For p-type, the conduction band
problem is caused by can move very
unavailability of metals with large easily to the
enough work function
n+ doped metal and vice
• High n-type doping required for
ohmic contacts to n-type versa by
semiconductors, which can also tunneling
be realized by interfacial layer
reaction chemistry ELECT 871 03/31/03
Conduction mechanisms in schottky contacts
• Thermionic emission
Electrons emit over the barrier
Low probability of direct tunneling
Valid for low doping (ND < ~ 1017 cm-3)

• Thermionic-field emission
Electrons use thermal energy to tunnel trough the
thin barrier in the upper end of the conduction
Valid for intermediate doping (~ 1017 cm-3 < ND <
~ 1018 cm-3)

• Field emission
Direct tunneling, as depletion region is very narrow
Valid for heavy doping (ND > ~ 1018 cm-3); almost

• Leakage current
High probability of defect-assisted tunneling and
simple conduction
Occurs in poor material/interface quality; dislocations
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Thermionic emission current: Schottky diode
I-V characteristics
Typical I-V Forward bias Reverse bias

Schottky diode I-V equation:

J = J0 (e qV / kT – 1), where J0 is the
saturation current density given by
 q 
J o  A*T 2 exp   Bn  T = temperature, A* = efective Richardson’s constant
 kT  ELECT 871 03/31/03
Schottky contact for nitride devices
• Schottky contacts are Variation of the schottky barrier height
usually made in nitride for different metal deposited on GaN
HFET devices by
depositing Ni/Au layer on
n-type GaN
• The higher the schottky
barrier, the lower the
leakage current
• Using polarization in
nitrides i.e.
structure, the schottky
barrier can be made larger
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Schottky contact characterization
• Current-Voltage (IV) measurements
q Bn
 kT  A*T 2 
J 0  A*T 2 e kT . VF vs. J intercept gives J0 and Bn  ln  
q  J 0 

• Capacitance-Voltage (CV) measurements

2 s q s N D
 Bn  V 
W Bn  V   C  
qN D 2Bn  V  C 2

– So the intercept of 1/C2 vs. V gives the barrier height

• Photoelectric measurements (by photon incident
on the schottky contact; this is very accurate)
– Photocurrent R is related to the barrier height as
R ~ hv  qBn So the intercept gives the barrier height
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Evaporation systems
Contact Metallization (Ti, Al, Ni, Au etc)
Metal Electron-Beam Evaporation System

Target Metal Source

with e-beam

Rapid Thermal Annealing System

from 20 oC to 1000 oC in seconds

ELECT 871 03/31/03

Ohmic contacts: n-type or undoped nitride
• Standard recipe for ohmic contact:
– Ti/Al/Ti/Au or Ti/Al/Ni/Au deposition. Ti/Al thickness ratio is important
– Annealing at 800 – 900 ºC for about 1 min for alloying. Alloying temperature
and alloying time are important factors controlling contact resistance.


Since TiN and AlN are formed by reaction

between the nitride layers and Ti or Al, N-
vacancies are created, which can dope the
contact region and create ohmic contact
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Contacts for p-type doped nitrides
• The absence of a metal with a sufficiently high work function. The band gap of
GaN is 3.4 eV, and the electron affinity is 4.1 eV, but metal work functions are
typically < 5 eV
• The relatively low hole concentrations in p-GaN due to the deep ionization level
of the Mg acceptor ~170 meV
• The tendency for the preferential loss of nitrogen from the GaN surface during
processing, which may produce surface conversion to n-type conductivity.


• Palladium gallide creates Ga vacancies that

reduce contact resistances
• Temperature and time of anneal also important
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Specific contact resistivity and sheet resistance
For any semiconductor device there are two main resistances:
• Contact resistance d
• Semiconductor resistance Z

Product of contact resistance Rc and area
A is called specific contact resistivity rc:
rc  W . cm2) Sometimes semiconductor resistance is
 J  expressed in terms of sheet resistance rsh
 V 
V 0
1 r
r sh   (W/•)
(Can also be expressed in terms of W . mm)
t e n   t
The total semiconductor resistance is then
Semiconductor layer resistivity r: given by
r (W . cm) 1
r d (W
en Rs   r dx 
A0 Zt
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Ohmic contact characterization:
Transmission line method (TLM)
I(x) I(x+x)

V(x) rc/(Zx) V(x +x)


dI V ( x) Z
dx rc d 2 I I ( x) rc
 2  2 , where LT 
dV Ir Ir dx LT r sh
  s   sh
dx Zt Z is called the transfer length.
The solution for I(x) is given as: I x   Ae x / LT  Be  x / LT
Now putting the boundary condition I(x = L) = 0, and finding the
solution for V(x), we can find the contact resistance as the ratio of the
input voltage and input current as: RC  V x  0 I x  0
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Transmission line method (TLM) II
rC  L 
The contact resistance Rc is then given by: RC  coth  
ZLT  LT 
For L >>LT , we have, RC  Ohmics
When the following conditions are further Z
satisfied, d << Z and t << LT (to avoid d
current spreading in the sides or into the film), rsh = r /t
r sh d
Then, RTot  2 Rc  Rs  2 Rc 
Putting Rtot = 0, and using the relation rc  Rc LT Z , we have,
d ( RT  0)   2 LT . So, the transfer length can be found from the
intercept of the total resistance on the x-axis.
Note that the contact resistivity is not given by the product of the
contact resistance and the total contact area, but by the product of
contact resistance, width Z, and transfer length LT.
ELECT 871 03/31/03
Measurement technique
Typical measurement set up B1205 UV LED

Current, mA
0 4um
-50 12um
-2 -1 0 1 2
Voltage, V

B1205 UV LED
Plot of total resistance 30 n-TLM

Resistance, Ohm
vs. distance What is wrong in
this measurement? Y =14.51607+1.13839 X
Slope = 10
rsh/Z rc=6.93*10-5W-cm2
0 5 10 15 20
gap, um
ELECT 871 03/31/03