Investigation of self-heating and macroscopic built-in polarization effects on the performance of III-V nitride devices

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Venkatachalam, Anusha
Yoder, P. Douglas
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The effect of hot phonons and the influence of macroscopic polarization-induced built-in fields on the performance of III-V nitride devices are investigated. Self-heating due to hot phonons is analyzed in AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs). Thermal transport by acoustic phonons in the diffusive limit is modeled using a two-dimensional lattice heat equation. The effect of macroscopic polarization charges on the operation of blue and green InGaN-based quantum well structures is presented. To characterize these structures, the electronic part of the two-dimensional quantum well laser simulator MINILASE is extended to include nitride bandstructure and material models. A six-band k.p theory for strained wurtzite materials is used to compute the valence subbands. Spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization charges at the interfaces are included in the calculations, and their effects on the device performance are described. Additionally, k.p Hamiltonian for crystal growth directions that minimize the polarization-induced built-in fields are modeled, and valence band dispersion for the non-polar and semi-polar planes are also calculated. Finally, a design parameter subspace is explored to suggest epitaxial layer structures which maximize gain spectral density at a target wavelength for green InxGa1-xN-based single quantum well active regions. The dependence of the fundamental optical transition energy on the thickness and composition of barriers and wells is discussed, and the sensitivity of gain spectral density to design parameters, including the choice of buffer layer material, is investigated.
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