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Schottky contacts

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

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 band
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
Typical I-V characteristics
Forward bias Reverse bias

Schottky diode I-V equation:

J = J0 (e qV/kT – 1), where J0 is the
saturation current density given by
 qφ 
J o = A*T 2 exp − Bn  T = temperature, A* = efective Richardson’s constant
 kT  ELECT 871 03/31/03
Schottky contact for nitride
• 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
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Schottky contact
• Current-Voltage (IV) measurements
qφ Bn
− kT  A*T 2 
J0 = A T e
* 2 kT . VF vs. J intercept gives J0 and φBn = ln
q  J 0 

• Capacitance-Voltage (CV) measurements

2ε s qε s N D 1
W= (φBn − V ) ⇒ C = ⇒ 2 ∝ ( φBn − V )
qN D 2( φBn − V ) C

– 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 − qφBn So the intercept gives the barrier height
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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

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
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Contacts for p-type doped

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
ρ c: 1
ρc = (Ω . cm2) Sometimes semiconductor resistance is
 ∂J  expressed in terms of sheet resistance ρ sh
 ∂V 
V =0
1 ρ
ρ sh = = (Ω /)
(Can also be expressed in terms of Ω . mm) t( e n µ ) t
The total semiconductor resistance is then
Semiconductor layer resistivity given by
ρ : 1
ρ= (Ω cm)
. 1
enµ Rs = ∫ ρ dx = (Ω )
A0 Zt
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Ohmic contact
characterization: Transmission
line method
I(x) (TLM)
I(x+∆ x)
ρ sh ∆ x/Z

V(x) ρ c/(Z∆ x) V(x +∆ x)


dI V ( x) Z
dx ρc d 2 I I ( x) ρc
⇒ 2 = 2 , where LT =
dV Iρ I ρ sh dx LT ρ sh
= − s =−
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 ρ  L 
The contact resistance Rc is then given by: RC = C
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), ρ sh =
ρ sh d
Then, RTot = 2 Rc + Rs = 2 Rc + ρ /t
Putting Rtot = 0, and using the relation ρ c = Rc LT Z , we have,
d ( RT = 0) = − 2 LT . So, the transfer length can be found from
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.
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Measurement technique
Typical measurement set up

Plot of total resistance

vs. distance What is wrong in
this measurement?
Slope =
ρ sh /Z

ELECT 871 03/31/03