Gallium Nitride (GaN) based microelectronics technology is a fast growing and most exciting semiconductor technology in the fields of high power and high frequency electronics. Excellent electrical properties of GaN such as high carrier concentration and high carrier motility makes GaN based high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) a preferred choice for RF applications. However, a very high temperature in the active region of the GaN HEMT leads to a significant degradation of the device performance by effecting carrier mobility and concentration. Thus, thermal management in GaN HEMT in an effective manner is key to this technology to reach its full potential.
In this thesis, an electro-thermal model of an AlGaN/GaN HEMT on a SiC substrate is simulated using Silvaco (Atlas) TCAD tools. Output characteristics, current density and heat flow at the GaN-SiC interface are key areas of analysis in this work. The electrical characteristics show a sharp drop in drain currents for higher drain voltages. Temperature profile across the device is observed. At the interface of GaN-SiC, there is a sharp drop in temperature indicating a thermal resistance at this interface. Adding to the existing heat in the device, this difference heat is reflected back into the device, further increasing the temperatures in the active region. Structural changes such as GaN micropits, were introduced at the GaN-SiC interface along the length of the device, to make the heat flow smooth rather than discontinuous. With changing dimensions of these micropits, various combinations were tried to reduce the temperature and enhance the device performance. These GaN micropits gave effective results by reducing heat in active region, by spreading out the heat on to the sides of the device rather than just concentrating right below the hot spot. It also helped by allowing a smooth flow of heat at the GaN-SiC interface. There was an increased peak current density in the active region of the device contributing to improved electrical characteristics. In the end, importance of thermal management in these high temperature devices is discussed along with future prospects and a conclusion of this thesis.