Publication
Journal of Applied Physics
Paper

Effects of interfacial microstructure on uniformity and thermal stability of AuNiGe ohmic contact to n-type GaAs

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Abstract

As part of the investigation of the use of AuNiGe as the ohmic contact to n-type GaAs at a high integration level, cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy was used to explore the uniformity at the metal/GaAs interface and the thermal stability of the AuNiGe contact after the ohmic contact formation. A close relation between spread of the contact resistance and nonuniformity of the interfacial microstructure of the contact was found. Deposition of 5-nm-thick Ni as the first layer of the AuNiGe ohmic contact significantly reduced the spread of the contact resistance and led to the formation of a uniform interface without large protrusions. The improvement in uniformity of compound distribution and the reduction of interface roughness are believed to be due to a change in the sequence of alloying reactions, compared to those in the contact without a Ni first layer. This suggests an ideal interface structure for a low resistance AuNiGe ohmic contact after alloying to be a uniform two layer structure: a high density of the NiAs(Ge) grains contacting the GaAs substrate, and a homogeneous β-AuGa phase close to the top surface. However, due to the existence of β-AuGa phases with a low melting point of around 375 °C, the thermal stability of the contact at 400 °C is of serious concern. Segregation of the NiAs(Ge) grains was observed after annealing at 400 °C for 10 h, which reduced the contact areas between the NiAs(Ge) grains and GaAs. During subsequent annealing at this temperature for up to 90 h, liquidlike flow of the β-AuGa phase was observed which deteriorated the interface uniformity, causing an increase in contact resistance. A typical contact edge slide distance after contact alloying at 440 °C for 2 min was measured to be 0.2 μm and the longest distance among specimens examined was 0.47 μm. This edge deterioration could limit the use of the AuNiGe contact in GaAs submicron devices.

Date

01 Jan 1987

Publication

Journal of Applied Physics

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