Surface band bending and interface alignment of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited SiO2 on AlxGa1-xN

Brianna S. Eller, Robert Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


AlxGa1-xN is characterized by a significant spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization, which increases with the aluminum content. As a result, a surface bound charge is present, which favors compensation by surface states and influences the reliability of AlGaN/GaN devices. This work, therefore, focused on the effects of the polarization charge for GaN and AlGaN with three different aluminum concentrations 15%, 25%, and 35%. The band bending of AlxGa1-xN surfaces was measured after a N2/H2 plasma pretreatment, which reduced the carbon and oxygen contamination below the detection limit of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Surface band bending was then related to surface states, where the band bending of oxygen-free surfaces - as obtained with a high-temperature, immersed hydrogen/nitrogen plasma clean - scales with the aluminum content. In addition, the band offsets at the plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited SiO2/AlxGa1-xN interface were measured, giving 3.4 eV, 3.3 eV, 3.3 eV, and 3.0 eV for respective 0%, 15%, 25%, and 35% aluminum concentrations. These values are in accordance with the charge neutrality level model, which implies that SiO2 will confine carriers over nearly the full range of the aluminum content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125304
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 28 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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