Você está na página 1de 9

Home Search Collections Journals About Contact us My IOPscience

Gallium nitride devices for power electronic applications

This content has been downloaded from IOPscience. Please scroll down to see the full text.

2013 Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 074011

(http://iopscience.iop.org/0268-1242/28/7/074011)

View the table of contents for this issue, or go to the journal homepage for more

Download details:

IP Address: 59.92.148.132
This content was downloaded on 20/10/2014 at 16:29

Please note that terms and conditions apply.


IOP PUBLISHING SEMICONDUCTOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 (8pp) doi:10.1088/0268-1242/28/7/074011

INVITED REVIEW

Gallium nitride devices for power


electronic applications
B Jayant Baliga
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695,
USA
E-mail: bjbaliga@ncsu.edu

Received 27 July 2012, in final form 30 August 2012


Published 21 June 2013
Online at stacks.iop.org/SST/28/074011

Abstract
Recent success with the fabrication of high-performance GaN-on-Si high-voltage HFETs has
made this technology a contender for power electronic applications. This paper discusses the
properties of GaN that make it an attractive alternative to established silicon and emerging SiC
power devices. Progress in development of vertical power devices from bulk GaN is reviewed
followed by analysis of the prospects for GaN-on-Si HFET structures. Challenges and
innovative solutions to creating enhancement-mode power switches are reviewed.
(Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)

Introduction books published during the last several years [3–5]. Any new
proposed technology must surpass the performance of not only
Silicon power devices have dominated the power electronics the traditional silicon power devices but be able to compete
application space during the second half of the 20th century. with these enhanced-performance silicon devices as well.
Beginning with bipolar power transistors and thyristors in the The first analysis relating the performance of power
1950s, the industry migrated to MOS-gated devices in the devices to the basic material properties of semiconductors
1980s. The silicon power MOSFET became well established was developed at GE in 1980 and published in 1982 [6]. The
as the device of choice for applications operating at power analysis produced a simple equation, now commonly referred
supply voltages below 200 V. This includes the lucrative to as Baliga’s figure of merit (BFOM), to evaluate the potential
automotive market and the computing sector. The high specific improvements in the drift region resistance of unipolar power
on-resistance of silicon power MOSFETs with larger devices by substituting silicon with other semiconductor
breakdown voltages spurred the creation of MOS-bipolar materials. This analysis indicated a 13.7-times improvement
functional integration resulting in the emergence of the by replacing silicon with gallium arsenide. Based upon this
insulated gate bipolar iransistor (IGBT) in the 1980s [1]. The projection, GaAs power devices with high performance were
low on-state voltage drop of high-voltage IGBTs, together with developed at GE in the 1980s [7, 8]. Subsequently, GaAs
ease of control and superb ruggedness, greatly reduced the cost Schottky power rectifiers with breakdown voltage of 200 V
and size of power electronic circuits making it the predominant became commercially available from several companies by
technology in consumer, industrial, transportation, lighting leveraging this work. These devices represent the first-power
and renewable energy applications. Any new technology must semiconductor products based upon replacing silicon with
offer substantial improvements to the on-state voltage drop wide bandgap semiconductor material.
and switching losses, while retaining all the other attributes of The predicted BFOM for silicon carbide of more than
ease of control and ruggedness, in order to displace this widely 1000 provided strong motivation for development of unipolar
accepted technology. A detailed description and analysis of devices from the available 6H-SiC polytype material in the
silicon unipolar and bipolar power devices is available in 1990s. The first high-voltage (400 V) SiC Schottky rectifier
a recent textbook [2]. During the 1990s, many innovative with low (∼1 V) on-state voltage drop and excellent reverse
ideas have been proposed and demonstrated for silicon power recovery characteristics was reported by NCSU in 1992 [9].
devices that have now become available as products. These This work demonstrated the promise of SiC-based power
ideas have been described and analyzed in supplementary devices for mainstream power electronic applications which

0268-1242/13/074011+08$33.00 1 © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK & the USA
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

changed the industry perspective that was focused until that


time on specialty high-temperature niche markets for power
devices made from this material. Significant effort in the
1990s to grow high-quality 4H-SiC polytype material with
large wafer diameter and the development of processes for
making ohmic contacts, Schottky contacts and improved MOS
interfaces has resulted in the introduction of SiC Schottky
rectifier and power MOSFET products by many companies
including CREE Inc, Rohm, Infineon and GeneSiC. These
devices represent a new benchmark that must be surpassed
by any emerging technology such as GaN-based power
devices. A comprehensive review of the design and operating
characteristics of SiC power devices was published in
2006 [10].
Interest in gallium nitride grew in the 1990s due its
potential for applications in the lighting and cellular amplifier
markets [11, 12]. Commercial products based upon this
material have become highly successful in these markets.
Recently, significant interest has emerged in utilizing this
material for making power devices that could surpass the
performance of silicon high-voltage devices and be more Figure 1. Measured impact ionization coefficients for electrons and
cost effective than silicon carbide power devices. This holes in gallium nitride.
review provides a description of GaN power device options.
Recent measurements of the impact ionization coefficients are reverse bias on the Schottky diodes were performed. It was
included here because of their important role in defining the found that the impact ionization coefficient for electrons could
critical electric field for breakdown, which is essential to the be obtained by using low electron beam energy to produce
design of any GaN high-voltage structures. excitation close to the Schottky contact. In contrast, it was
found that the impact ionization coefficient for holes could
Impact ionization coefficients be obtained by using high electron beam energy to produce
excitation through most of the depletion region [15]. The
The maximum voltage that a semiconductor device can sustain experimental results are shown in figure 1 as the data points
is limited by the on-set of avalanche breakdown created with appropriate standard deviation due to performing multiple
by the impact ionization process [2]. The impact ionization measurements at a site and across multiple diodes. The straight
phenomenon is characterized by the impact ionization lines provide a fit to Chynoweth’s equation [16]:
coefficients for electrons and holes which are defined as α = a e(− b/E ) . (1)
the number of electron-hole pairs created by the mobile From the measured data for electrons in GaN, an has a
particle traversing 1 cm through the depletion region along value of 1.5 × 105 (+ or − 0.2 × 105) cm−1 and bn has a
the direction of the electric field. The measurement of these value of 1.41 × 107 (+ or − 0.03 × 107) V cm−1 at room
coefficients is complicated by the presence of defects in the temperature. From the measured data for holes in GaN, ap has
semiconductor material, nonuniform electric fields within the a value of 6.4 × 105 (+ or − 0.1 × 105) cm−1 and bp has a
structure, and the onset of premature breakdown at the edges value of 1.46 × 107 (+ or − 0.01 × 107) V cm−1 at room
of the chips. The impact ionization coefficients for electrons temperature. The temperature dependence of these parameters
and holes in gallium nitride have been successfully measured for GaN has also been measured by using a heating stage
after a 3 year effort at NCSU by using a pulsed electron beam installed inside the scanning electron microscope used for the
technique [13]. A pulsed electron beam technique was used pulsed electron beam experiments [13]:
for this work to localize the measurements to avoid defects an = 2.82 × 106 − 6.34 × 103 T (2)
detected in the material using electron beam induced current
(EBIC) scans. Schottky barrier diodes were fabricated on a p = 2.98 × 106 − 7.02 × 103 T. (3)
N-type GaN epitaxial layers with low doping concentration The coefficients bn and bp were found to be independent of
grown on highly doped N+ GaN substrates. The problem temperature within experimental tolerances. These data are
of high electric fields at the edges of the diodes was solved valuable for use in numerical simulation software used for
by using argon ion implantation which raised the breakdown the analysis of any GaN devices such as lateral microwave
voltage from 300 V to 1650 V [14]. Pulsing the electron beam transistors, and vertical or lateral power devices.
during the impact ionization measurements greatly improved
the signal to noise ratio by using a lock-in amplifier. Vertical power devices
Extensive numerical simulations of the experimental
procedure for extraction of the impact ionization coefficients Most silicon power devices are manufactured with a vertical
from the multiplication factor obtained as a function of the device structure because this allows placement of the high

2
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

Figure 3. Comparison of GaN maximum depletion width with Si


and SiC.
Figure 2. One-dimensional electric field distribution within vertical
power devices.

current carrying terminals on opposite surfaces of the silicon


chip. This design allows maintaining a uniform current density
within the chip and avoids the need to pattern very fine metal
lines during device processing. The typical structures for the
vertical Schottky power rectifier and the vertical planar power
MOSFET are shown in figure 2 together with the electric
field distribution obtained using one-dimensional analysis of
Poisson’s equation for the drift region. In these devices, the
maximum electric field (EM) occurs at the blocking interface
(metal–semiconductor contact in the Schottky rectifier or the
P–N junction in the power MOSFET) with a linear reduction
in magnitude to zero at a width WD for the depletion region.
The devices undergo avalanche breakdown when the ionization
integral across the depletion region becomes equal to unity [2].
Simple equations for the breakdown condition can be derived Figure 4. Comparison of GaN critical electric field with Si and SiC.
if a power law approximation is used for the impact ionization
coefficients. For a given doping concentration (ND) in the drift Solving the ionization integral with this power law provides
region, the analysis then predicts that avalanche breakdown
the following relationships for the drift region for an ideal GaN
occurs when the maximum electric field becomes equal to a
vertical power device:
critical electric field for breakdown (EC) with a corresponding
maximum depletion width W PP. WPP = 1.57 × 1011 ND(−7/8) (6)
The ideal specific on-resistance is defined as the resistance
of this drift region for unit cross sectional area. It is given by EC = 3.19 × 104 ND(1/8) (7)
2
RON,SP =
4 BV
(4) BVPP = 2.51 × 1015 ND(−3/4) . (8)
εS μn EC3
The values for the maximum depletion layer width, the
where BV is the breakdown voltage, εS is the dielectric constant critical electric field for breakdown and the breakdown voltage
and μn is the mobility. The denominator of this expression is predicted by these equations are plotted in figures 3–5,
commonly referred to as Baliga’s figure of merit (BFOM). respectively. In order to verify the accuracy of the
In order to obtain the BFOM for GaN, it is necessary analytical model, data were obtained by performing numerical
to obtain the critical electric field for breakdown which is a simulations with the impact ionization coefficients given by
function of the doping concentration of the drift region. The
equation (1) [13]. The data obtained from the numerical
critical electric field for breakdown in silicon is commonly
simulations for the above parameters are shown by the dots
obtained by using a Fulops power law fit to the impact
in the figures. It can be concluded that the proposed analytical
ionization data [17]. In a similar manner, the Ozbek–Baliga
model in equation (5) provides an accurate match to the results
power law fit for GaN has been proposed [13]:
of numerical simulations. Using the analytical model, it is
α = 1.5 × 10−42 E 7 . (5) found that the critical electric field for GaN is 1.23-times

3
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

an important role in determining the breakdown voltages [19].


Recently, nearly ideal breakdown voltage has been achieved by
using an argon implanted edge termination [14, 20]. With this
approach, the breakdown voltage of GaN Schottky rectifiers
was improved from 300 V to 1600 V for a 4 μm thick epitaxial
layer with doping concentration of 1 × 1014 cm−3 grown on a
N+ GaN substrate. The critical electric field for breakdown
extracted from these punch-through diode structures was
3.75 × 106 V cm−1. It is worth pointing out that this is
much larger than the critical electric field of 1.8 × 106 V
cm−1 at a doping concentration of 1 × 1014 cm−3 (see figure 4)
obtained for GaN using the impact ionization coefficients.
This difference is due to the very small depletion width of
4 μm where impact ionization occurs for the punch-through
structure when compared with a depletion width of 900 μm
Figure 5. Comparison of GaN breakdown voltage with Si and SiC. for the nonpunch through structure represented in figure 4.
Using eqution (9), the projected ideal specific on-
resistance for GaN power MOSFETs at a breakdown voltage
of 600 V is found to be 0.0275 m cm2. Although the
projected drift region resistance is extremely small, it is
unfortunately overwhelmed by the specific on-resistance of
available GaN substrates (in the range of 2 m cm2). From
this observation, it can be concluded that vertical GaN power
devices will not be competitive with SiC devices until the GaN
substrate technology is substantially improved. Despite this
limitation, vertical FET structures have been reported on GaN
substrates using a ‘current aperture vertical electron transistor
(CAVET) structure’ [21, 22]. Although the basic functionality
of the FET structure has been demonstrated, these devices had
low blocking voltages (∼65 V) with relatively high specific
on-resistance (2.6 m cm2). Vertical GaN FETs are being
considered for automotive applications but their voltage ratings
are well below system requirements [23]. Consequently, most
Figure 6. Comparison of GaN ideal specific on-resistance with Si of the focus of the development effort in academia and the
and SiC. industry has been directed toward lateral GaN devices based
upon GaN layers grown on silicon substrates as discussed in
larger than that for 4H–SiC and 7.97-times larger than that the next section.
for silicon.
Using the above equations, the ideal specific on-resistance
for the drift region of a vertical GaN power device is given by Lateral HEMT figure-of-merit

RON,SP (GaN) = 3.12 × 10−12 BV2.5 (9) The ability to grow high-quality gallium nitride layers
on silicon substrates has been a major technological
breakthrough. Due to the low cost of large diameter silicon
if a mobility of 1000 cm2 (V s)−1 is used independent of the
doping concentration. Values for the specific on-resistance for wafers, this has created the opportunity to develop high-
GaN obtained by using this equation are compared with those performance GaN power devices circumventing the road-
for silicon and 4H-SiC devices in figure 6. It can be concluded block of the high cost and small size of GaN substrates. In
that the ideal specific on-resistance for GaN vertical power addition, a powerful approach to achieving low on-resistance
devices is 1.78-times smaller than that for 4H-SiC and 2130- has evolved based upon using the high electron mobility
times smaller than that for silicon at all breakdown voltages. transistor (HEMT) structure. The HEMT structure was first
Vertical GaN power devices can be fabricated either from developed for microwave applications using GaN layers grown
bulk GaN substrates or by the homo-epitaxial growth of on high-resistivity SiC and sapphire substrates [24]. In the
lightly doped thin GaN layers on thick more heavily doped HEMT structure shown in figure 7, an AlGaN layer is grown on
GaN substrates. The development of Schottky rectifiers from top of the GaN layer to create a large polarization effect which
GaN grown on a variety of substrates has been reviewed produces a two-dimensional electron gas at the AlGaN/GaN
by Zhang et al [18]. The emphasis of this work was on interface. A typical sheet carrier density of 1 × 1013 cm−2 with
achieving high breakdown voltages with relatively poor on- an electron mobility of 2000 cm2 (V s)−1 has been reported in
state characteristics. Edge terminations for the devices play the 2D-gas [25].

4
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

The critical electric field for breakdown for the lateral HEMT
structure can be derived by performing the ionization integral
with a uniform electric field in the drift region with equation (5)
for the impact ionization coefficient. Equating the ionization
integral to unity yields
 1/6
6.667 × 1041
EC,L = . (15)
BV
The solution indicates that the critical electric field for
breakdown of a lateral HEMT structure will decrease
with increasing breakdown voltage. This is due to the
longer impact ionization path along the drift region with
increasing breakdown voltage. Combining equation (15) with
equation (10),
LD (HEMT) = 1.07 × 10−7 BV7/6 . (16)
Substituting this expression into equation (12),
Figure 7. GaN HEMT structure with ideal electric field distribution.
7.154 × 104 BV7/3
RON,SP (HEMT) = . (17)
μ QS
A simple analysis of the ultimate performance for the
lateral HEMT structure can be performed by assuming an Using the typical sheet carrier density of 1 × 1013 cm−2 with
idealized uniform electric field distribution along the x-axis an electron mobility of 2000 cm2 (V s)−1 reported in the 2D-gas
between the edge of the gate and the drain. The structure for the AlGaN/GaN HEMT structures yields
undergoes breakdown when the maximum electric field RON,SP (HEMT) = 3.577 × 10−12 BV7/3 . (18)
becomes equal to the critical electric field (EC,L) for breakdown It is worth pointing out that the power law relating the specific
in a structure with uniform electric field along the drift region. on-resistance to the breakdown voltage for a lateral HEMT
This critical electric field is different from the previously structure is different from that given by equation (9) for a
derived critical electric field for devices with triangular shaped vertical power FET structure.
electric field distribution as discussed later in this section. The The specific on-resistance for the lateral GaN HEMT
length of the drift region is given by structure is plotted in figure 6. The line corresponding to the
BV lateral GaN HEMT devices is not parallel to the lines for
LD (HEMT) = . (10)
EC,L the other vertical device structures shown in the figure. The
In order to obtain the ideal specific on-resistance for a lateral above analysis indicates that the ideal specific on-resistance
HEMT structure, only the resistance of the drift region is taken for lateral GaN HEMT devices is lower than that predicted
into account while neglecting the space occupied by the source, for the vertical GaN FET devices, and consequently superior
gate and drain contacts. The on-resistance of the drift region to 4H-SiC and Si devices as well. The lateral GaN HEMT
is given by structures are expected to have an ideal specific on-resistance
LD that is 1.88, 2.76 and 4.05-times smaller than for the vertical
RON (HEMT) = (11) GaN FET devices at breakdown voltages of 100, 1000 and
q μ QS Z
10 000 V, respectively.
where μ is the free carrier mobility in the 2D-gas, QS is
the sheet carrier density and Z is the width of the structure
orthogonal to the cross-section. The specific on-resistance for Lateral GaN HEMT devices
the lateral HEMT structure is obtained by multiplying the on-
AlGaN/GaN HEMT structures fabricated on GaN layers
resistance by the area (LD.Z):
grown on silicon substrates have attracted the most commercial
2
LD interest for power electronic applications in recent years due to
RON,SP (HEMT) = . (12)
q μ QS the prospects for creating a high-performance FET technology
Using equation (10) yields on a low-cost substrate. Companies that are pursuing this
approach include International Rectifier [26], MicroGaN [27],
BV2
RON,SP (HEMT) = . (13) Transphorm [28] and EPC [29]. Although the research effort
q μ QS EC,L
2
on GaN HFETs spans a broad range of blocking voltages,
The denominator of this equation serves as a figure-of-merit 600 V devices are considered an important target for solar
for lateral HEMT structures: inverters and motor drives for hybrid electric cars [30]. Several
reviews of the development activity for GaN HFETs have
BFOM (HEMT) = q μ QS EC,L
2
. (14)
been recently published [31, 32]. Most of the early work
The critical electric field for breakdown for the lateral HEMT has been focused on achieving high breakdown voltages
structure is a function of the breakdown voltage of the structure and preventing the current collapse phenomenon. This was
(as is also the case for the vertical power FET structures). achieved by using gate and source connected field plates as

5
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

Figure 8. Improved GaN HEMT structures.

illustrated in the structure on the left-hand side of figure 8 [33]. Another approach taken to achieve a normally off
Normally on or depletion-mode devices with blocking voltage AlGaN/GaN HFET device is to use the recessed MOS
of 1.3 kV were successfully fabricated with a maximum gate structure illustrated on the right-hand side of figure 8.
current of 120 amperes and a specific on-resistance of Furukawa Electric has reported 500 V, 70-A devices with a
5.2 m cm2. Although an excellent low specific on-resistance positive threshold voltage of 2.8 V in 2009 [39] with specific
was achieved when compared with silicon devices, it is 2 orders on-resistance of 16 m cm2. These structures utilized a
of magnitude above the ideal specific on-resistance predicted p-type magnesium-doped GaN layer. Subsequently, 600 V,
by the analysis in the previous section indicating room for 100-A normally off AlGaN/GaN HFET devices with a
further improvements. For example, the gate-to-drain length threshold voltage of 2.7 V and specific on-resistance of 9.3 m
used for these devices was 15 μm when compared with only cm2 have been reported by this group in 2010 [40]. Although
3.4 μm for the ideal case indicating that there is opportunity these results are very promising, the specific on-resistance for
to make the electric field more uniform along the drift the AlGaN/GaN MOS-HFET structures remains substantially
region. Promising approaches that have been proposed and larger than that for normally on AlGaN/GaN HFET structures
demonstrated to increase the breakdown voltage are a greater with the same blocking voltage.
buffer layer thickness [34] and source vias to ground the silicon
substrate [35]. Hybrid GaN/Si devices
For power electronic applications, it is essential that
transistors have a normally off or enhancement-mode In the 1990s, the development of power MOSFETs from
characteristic to prevent shoot-through problems during circuit silicon carbide was stymied by poor mobility for electrons
power up. Since the basic AlGaN/GaN HFET structure has a in inversion layers and catastrophic failure of devices due to
normally on or depletion mode characteristic, modifications high electric fields generated in the gate oxide [10]. Better
have been proposed to move the threshold voltage from progress was made on the development of high-voltage JFET
negative to positive values. One of the methods to achieve structures with low specific on-resistance but these devices
normally off behavior in the AlGaN/GaN HFETs is to make a had normally on characteristics. The Baliga–Pair configuration
‘recessed-gate’ structure as illustrated on the left-hand side of [41], named after the inventor analogous to the Darlington–
figure 8. The typical thickness for the AlGaN layer is 20 nm. Pair [42], was proposed to address these problems. The concept
In order to obtain a zero threshold voltage, it is necessary to was first reported in the literature in 1996 [43]. In the Baliga–
reduce the AlGaN layer under the gate to only 5 nm [36]. The Pair configuration, a high-voltage normally on SiC JFET or
recess process must not only accurately reduce the AlGaN MESFET structure is paired with a low-voltage normally off Si
layer thickness but must be uniform across the wafer. 580 V power MOSFET to create a composite three-terminal device
HFETs have been fabricated with AlGaN layer thickness of as shown in figure 9. In the Baliga–Pair configuration, the
only 2 nm [37] with zero threshold voltage and a specific source of the high-voltage FET is connected to the drain of
on-resistance of 1.25 m cm2. A 600 V HFET with a positive the Si power MOSFET and the gate of the high-voltage FET
threshold voltage of 0.8 V and specific on-resistance of 2.8 m is connected to the source of the Si power MOSFET which
cm2 has also been reported by using a recessed-gate structure serves as the ground or reference terminal. The device can
with NiOx gate material [38]. These results are far superior to be controlled by biasing the gate of the Si power MOSFET
the specific on-resistance of 100 m cm2 for the typical 600 V while the drain of the high-voltage FET is connected to the
silicon power MOSFET and 30 m cm2 for the 600 V silicon load and the output power source. If the SiC JFET/MESFET
COOLMOS technology [4]. However, the threshold voltages is designed with a pinch-off voltage of 20 V, a 30 V Si
of these HFETs are too low for secure operation in power power MOSFET with very low on-resistance can be used in
circuits. this circuit while very high voltages can be controlled via

6
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

The demonstration of high-quality GaN layers on silicon


substrates has created the opportunity to create a high-
performance power device technology that is potentially less
expensive than silicon carbide devices. Normally on high-
voltage AlGaN/GaN HFETs have been demonstrated with
nearly 2 orders of magnitude smaller specific on-resistance
when compared to silicon devices with the same blocking
voltage capability. Although normally off high-voltage HFETs
have also been demonstrated, their specific on-resistance is
much larger than for the normally on structures. Consequently,
most commercial manufacturers are using a normally on high-
voltage AlGaN/GaN HFET with a low-voltage silicon power
MOSFET in the Baliga–Pair configuration to produce a high-
Figure 9. The Baliga–Pair device configuration. performance normally off high-voltage power switch for solar
inverter and motor drive applications.
the high-voltage JFET/MESFET. The circuit provides the One barrier to commercial viability of GaN-based HEMT
benefits of high blocking voltage capability with very low power devices is their reliability. Degradation of the output
specific on-resistance, excellent switching behavior and wide characteristics and on-resistance of AlGaN/GaN HEMT
safe-operating-area characteristics [2, 10]. Although these structures has been reported due to hot electron induced charge
references discuss the use of a normally on high-voltage SiC trapping [48]. The generation of traps has been ascribed
JFET, it is obvious that the idea would work well with a to strain produced in the AlGaN layer due to the inverse
normally on high-voltage FET made from any other material. piezoelectric effect [49] resulting from the high electric field
The Baliga–Pair concept has been experimentally at the edge of the gate electrode. The electric field at the gate
validated by extensive work done by Siemens [44, 45] using edge can be reduced by using field plates as already described
their planar-gate vertical SiC JFET technology. These authors in the paper. An alternative approach that is being explored
refer to the Baliga–Pair configuration as a ‘cascode circuit’. is the InAlN/GaN HEMT structure which has been projected
This is a misnomer because the term cascode has been to have two to three times superior quantum well polarization
previously used to describe an analog circuit where one bipolar
induced charge [50]. The projections have been validated by
transistor serves as the load for a second bipolar transistor to
several recent experimental results [51–53] for GaN grown
increase the output resistance [46]. Neither bipolar transistor is
on 4H-SiC and sapphire. This work needs to be extended to
normally on in these circuits. In contrast, a normally on high-
silicon substrates to make the technology cost effective.
voltage FET made from wide band gap material is controlled
by a silicon power MOSFET in the Baliga–Pair circuit. References
As discussed previously, currently normally on high-
voltage AlGaN/GaN FET structures have the best specific [1] Baliga B J 1988 Evolution of MOS-bipolar power
on-resistance. Consequently, the Baliga–Pair circuit with semiconductor technology Proc. IEEE 74 409–18
[2] Baliga B J 2008 Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor
a normally on high-voltage AlGaN/GaN HFET and a
Devices (New York: Springer-Science)
low-voltage Si power MOSFET is considered the most [3] Baliga B J 2009 Advanced Power Rectifier Concepts (New
commercially viable solution at this time [27–29]. With this York: Springer-Science)
approach, very high efficiencies have been demonstrated for a [4] Baliga B J 2010 Advanced Power MOSFET Concepts (New
dc to dc boost circuit operating at 100 kHz with 220 V at the York: Springer-Science)
input [47]. [5] Baliga B J 2011 Advanced High Voltage Power Device
Concepts (New York: Springer-Science)
[6] Baliga B J 1982 Semiconductors for high voltage vertical
Conclusions channel field effect transistors J. Appl. Phys. 53 1759–64
[7] Campbell P M et al 1982 150-V vertical channel GaAs FET
This paper provides a review of GaN-based devices for power IEEE Int. Electron Devices Meeting 258–60 Abstract 10.4
electronic applications. Recent measurements of the impact [8] Baliga B J et al 1985 Gallium Arsenide Schottky power
ionization coefficients for holes and electrons in GaN confirm rectifiers IEEE Trans. Electron Devices ED-32 1130–4
and quantify the larger critical electric field for breakdown [9] Bhatnagar M et al 1992 Silicon carbide high-voltage (400 V)
Schottky barrier diodes IEEE Electron Device Lett.
for this material when compared with Si and SiC. Using the EDL-13 501–3
impact ionization data, analytical models for the breakdown [10] Baliga B J 2006 Silicon Carbide Power Devices (Singapore:
voltage and the ideal specific on-resistance for the drift region World Scientific Publishers)
of vertical power devices have been derived. The ideal specific [11] Denbaars S P 1997 Gallium-nitride-based materials for blue
on-resistance for vertical GaN devices is found to be 1.78- and ultraviolet optoelectronic devices Proc. IEEE
85 1740–9
times smaller than that for 4H-SiC and 2130-times smaller
[12] Mishra U K, Parikh P and Wu Y F 2002 AlGaN/GaN
than that for silicon at all breakdown voltages. The prospects HEMTs—an overview of device operation and applications
for vertical GaN power devices fabricated from GaN substrates Proc. IEEE 90 1022–31
is hindered by the high-resistivity, small size and high cost of [13] Ozbek A M Measurement of impact ionization coefficients in
the substrates. GaN PhD Thesis North Carolina State University

7
Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 074011 Invited Review

[14] Ozbek A M and Baliga B J 2011 Planar, nearly-ideal breakdown field (2.3 MV/cm) for GaN on Si IEEE
edge-termination technique for GaN devices IEEE Electron Electron Device Lett. 32 1534–6
Device Lett. 32 300–2 [35] Hikita M et al 2005 AlGaN/GaN power HFET on silicon
[15] Ozbek A M and Baliga B J 2011 Measurement of impact substrate with source-Via grounding (SVG) structure IEEE
ionization coefficients for GaN Solid State Electron. Trans. Electron Devices 52 1963–8
Submitted for publication December [36] Ikeda N et al 2006 A novel GaN device with thin AlGaN/GaN
[16] Chynoweth A G 1960 Uniform silicon p-n junctions. II. Heterostructure for high-power applications Furukawa Rev.
ionization rates for electrons J. Appl. Phys. 31 1161–5 29 1–6
[17] Fulop W 1967 Calculation of avalanche breakdown of silicon [37] Medjdoub F et al 2010 Low on-resistance high-breakdown
P-N junctions Solid State Electron. 10 39–43 normally-off AlN/GaN/AlGaN DHFET on Si substrate
[18] Zhang A P et al 2003 GaN and AlGaN high voltage power IEEE Electron Device Lett. 31 111–3
rectifiers ed F Ren and J C Zolper Wide Energy Bandgap [38] Kaneko N et al 2009 Normally-on AlGaN/GaN HFETs using
Electronics (Singapore: World Scientific Publishers) NiOx gate with recess IEEE Int. Symp. on Power
chapter 2 Semiconductor Devices and ICs pp 25–28
[19] Laroche J R et al 2005 Design of edge terminations for GaN [39] Kambayashi H et al 2009 Enhancement-mode GaN hybrid
power Schottky diodes J. Electron. Mater. 34 370–4 MOS-HFETs on Si substrates with over 70-A operation
[20] Ozbek A M and Baliga B J 2011 Finite-zone, argon implant, IEEE Int. Symp. on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs
edge termination for high-voltage GaN Schottky rectifiers pp 21–24
IEEE Electron Device Lett. 32 1361–3 [40] Kambayashi H et al 2010 Over 100-A operation normally-Off
[21] Ben-Yaacov I et al 2004 AlGaN/GaN current aperture vertical AlGaN/GaN Hybrid MOS-HFET on Si substrate with high
electron transistors with regrown channels J Appl. Phys. breakdown voltage Solid-State Electron. 54 660–4
95 2073–8 [41] Baliga B J 1995 Silicon carbide switching device with
[22] Kanechika M et al 2007 A vertical insulated gate AlGaN/GaN rectifying gate US Patent No. 5,396,085
heterojunction field-effect transistor Japan. J. Appl. Phys. [42] Darlington S 1953 Semiconductor signal translating device US
46 L503–L5 Patent No. 2,663,806
[23] Uesugi T and Kachi T 2009 GaN power switching devices for [43] Baliga B J 1996 Power Semiconductor Devices (New York:
automotive applications CS MANTECH Conf. (May 2009) PWS Publishing Company)
Paper 2.1 [44] Mitlehner H et al 1999 Dynamic characteristics of high
[24] Karmalkar S, Shur M S and Gaska R 2003 GaN-based power voltage 4H-SiC vertical JFETs IEEE Int. Symp. on
high electron mobility transistors Wide Energy Bandgap Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs pp 339–42
Electronics ed F Ren and J C Zolper (Singapore: World Paper 11.1
Scientific Publishers) chapter 3 [45] Friedrichs P et al 2000 Static and dynamic characteristics of
[25] Cordier Y et al 2008 Demonstration of AlGaN/GaN 4H-SiC JFETs designed for different blocking categories
high-electron-mobility transistors grown by molecular Mater. Sci. Forum 338–342 1243–6
beam epitaxy on Si(110) IEEE Electron Device Lett. [46] Gray P R and Meyer R G 1977 Analysis and Design of Analog
29 1187–9 Integrated Circuits (New York: Wiley) pp 155–8 Section
[26] GaNpowIR Update International Rectifier 2011 IEEE Applied 3.3.2
Power Electronics Conference [47] Blake C 2011 GaN transistors reach the 600-V operation
[27] 2011 MicroGaN takes nitride transistors into the third plateau Power Electron. Technol. Mag. (June) 38–41
dimension Compd. Semicond. [48] Kim H et al 2001 Degradation characteristics of AlGaN/GaN
www.compoundsemiconductor.net/csc/ high electron mobility transistors IEEE Int. Reliability
[28] Conner M 2011 Transphorm: GaN-based power devices prove Physics Symp. pp 214–9
their worth at higher voltages Electron. Des. News [49] Joh J and del Alamo J A 2006 Mechanisms for electrical
http://www.edn.com/ degradation of GaN high-electron mobility transistors IEEE
[29] Beach R 2010 Master the fundamentals of your Gallium nitride Int. Electron Devices Meet. 1–4
power transistors Electron. Des. http://www.edn.com/ [50] Kuzmik J 2001 Power electronics on InAlN/(In)GaN:
[30] Parikh P and Blake C 2012 Transphorm hits hard 600 V target prospect for a record performance IEEE Electron Device
Power Devices issue 4 12–13 Lett. 22 510–2
[31] Yanagihara M et al 2009 Recent advances in GaN transistors [51] Kohn E and Medjdoub F 2007 InAlN—a new barrier material
for future emerging applications Phys. Status Solidi A for GaN-based HEMTs IEEE Int. Workshop on Physics of
206 1221–7 Semiconductor Devices pp 311–6
[32] Ikeda N et al 2010 GaN power transistors on Si substrates for [52] Zhou Q et al 2012 Schottky source/drain InAlN/AlN/GaN
switching applications Proc. IEEE 98 1151–61 MISHEMT with enhanced breakdown voltage IEEE
[33] Ikeda N et al 2008 High-power GaN HFETs on Si substrate Electron Device Lett. 33 38–40
Furukawa Rev. 34 17–23 [53] Lee H-S et al 2012 3000-V 4.3-mW cm2 InAlN/GaN
[34] Rowena I B, Sevaraj S L and Egawa T 2011 Buffer thickness MOSHEMTs with AlGaN back barrier IEEE Electron
contribution to suppress vertical leakage current with high Device Lett. 33 982–4