Wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors GaN (3.4 eV), Ga2O3 (4.8 eV) and AlN (6.2 eV), have gained considerable interests for energy-efficient optoelectronic and electronic applications in solid-state lighting, photovoltaics, power conversion,…
Wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors GaN (3.4 eV), Ga2O3 (4.8 eV) and AlN (6.2 eV), have gained considerable interests for energy-efficient optoelectronic and electronic applications in solid-state lighting, photovoltaics, power conversion, and so on. They can offer unique device performance compared with traditional semiconductors such as Si. Efficient GaN based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have increasingly displaced incandescent and fluorescent bulbs as the new major light sources for lighting and display. In addition, due to their large bandgap and high critical electrical field, WBG semiconductors are also ideal candidates for efficient power conversion.
In this dissertation, two types of devices are demonstrated: optoelectronic and electronic devices. Commercial polar c-plane LEDs suffer from reduced efficiency with increasing current densities, knowns as “efficiency droop”, while nonpolar/semipolar LEDs exhibit a very low efficiency droop. A modified ABC model with weak phase space filling effects is proposed to explain the low droop performance, providing insights for designing droop-free LEDs. The other emerging optoelectronics is nonpolar/semipolar III-nitride intersubband transition (ISBT) based photodetectors in terahertz and far infrared regime due to the large optical phonon energy and band offset, and the potential of room-temperature operation. ISBT properties are systematically studied for devices with different structures parameters.
In terms of electronic devices, vertical GaN p-n diodes and Schottky barrier diodes (SBDs) with high breakdown voltages are homoepitaxially grown on GaN bulk substrates with much reduced defect densities and improved device performance. The advantages of the vertical structure over the lateral structure are multifold: smaller chip area, larger current, less sensitivity to surface states, better scalability, and smaller current dispersion. Three methods are proposed to boost the device performances: thick buffer layer design, hydrogen-plasma based edge termination technique, and multiple drift layer design. In addition, newly emerged Ga2O3 and AlN power electronics may outperform GaN devices. Because of the highly anisotropic crystal structure of Ga2O3, anisotropic electrical properties have been observed in Ga2O3 electronics. The first 1-kV-class AlN SBDs are demonstrated on cost-effective sapphire substrates. Several future topics are also proposed including selective-area doping in GaN power devices, vertical AlN power devices, and (Al,Ga,In)2O3 materials and devices.