# Negative charge, barrier heights, and the conduction-band discontinuity in Al_{x}Ga_{1-x}As capacitors

## Abstract

We have combined current-voltage (I-V) and capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurements on n- GaAs-Al0.4Ga0.6As-n + GaAs capacitors with different thicknesses of Al 0.4Ga0.6As to determine the conduction-band discontinuity at the Al0.4Ga0.6As-n+ GaAs interface. Undoped AlxGa1-xAs deposited by molecular-beam epitaxy contains negative charge. We calculate the effect of band bending in undoped Al xGa1-xAs due to negative charge on measured barrier heights and on C-V curves. The temperature dependence of I-V curves is analyzed in terms of thermionic emission to derive barrier heights at the n+ GaAs-Al0.4Ga0.6As interface φG. Measured values of φG are proportional to the square of the insulator thickness, w, showing that negative charge is uniformly distributed through undoped Al0.4Ga0.6As. Combining values of Fermi energy and band bending at zero bias with φG at zero Al 0.4Ga0.6As thickness, we find that the value of the barrier discontinuity for n+ GaAs-Al0.4Ga0.6As is ∼0.30 V. This corresponds to a ratio of conduction-band discontinuity ΔEC to band-gap difference ΔEG of 0.63±0.03, which is appreciably less than the value 0.85±0.03 that is widely accepted. We find that the dielectric constant of Al 0.4Ga0.6As is more temperature dependent than that of GaAs between 77 and 250 K.