Electromodulation spectroscopy of optical transitions and electric field distribution in GaN/AlGaN/GaN transistor heterostructures with various AlGaN layer thicknesses



GaN/AlGaN/GaN field effect transistor (FET) heterostructures with various thicknesses of AlGaN layer (10, 20, and 30nm) were investigated by electromodulation spectroscopy [i.e. contactless electroreflectance (CER) and photoreflectance (PR)]. In PR spectra optical transitions in GaN cap, AlGaN and GaN buffer layers were clearly observed whereas in CER spectra the optical transition in GaN buffer layer was not observed due to the screening of band bending modulation in CER spectroscopy by the two dimensional electron gas at the AlGaN/GaN interface. The transition related to GaN-cap was observed ∼0.1 eV above the energy gap of GaN due to the quantum confinement in the surface GaN quantum well. The built-in electric field in AlGaN layer was determined from the analysis of AlGaN-related Franz-Keldysh oscillation. For the sample with 10, 20, and 30nm thick AlGaN layer the electric field has been determined from CER(PR) measurements to be 0.30(0.27), 0.46(0.39) and 0.78(0.63) MV/cm, respectively. The smaller electric field, which is obtained from PR measurements, results from the photovoltaic effect which is eliminated in CER spectroscopy. The electric field distribution in the full heterostructure (GaN(cap) layer, AlGaN layer, and near the AlGaN/GaN interface in GaN(buffer) layer) has been found comparing theoretical calculations for the full heterostructure with the electric field for AlGaN layer obtained from CER measurements. (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)