Polarization modulation of 2DEG toward plasma-damage-free GaN HEMT isolation

Yijun Dai, Wei Guo*, Li Chen, Houqiang Xu, Feras Alqatari, Chenyu Guo, Xianchun Peng, Ke Tang, Che Hao Liao, Xiaohang Li*, Jichun Ye*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


GaN electronics have hinged on invasive isolation such as mesa etching and ion implantation to define device geometry, which, however, suffer from damages, hence potential leakage paths. In this study, we propose a new paradigm of polarization isolation utilizing intrinsic electronic properties, realizing in situ isolation during device epitaxy without the need of post-growth processing. Specifically, adjacent III- and N-polar AlGaN/GaN heterojunctions were grown simultaneously on the patterned AlN nucleation layer on c-plane sapphire substrates. The two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) was formed at III-polar regions but completely depleted in N-polar regions, thereby isolating the 2DEG channels with a large 3.5 eV barrier. Structures of polarization-isolated high electron mobility transistors (PI-HEMTs) exhibit significantly reduced isolation leakage currents by up to nearly two orders of magnitude at 50 V voltage bias compared to the state-of-the-art results. Aside from that, a high isolation breakdown voltage of 2628 V is demonstrated for the PI-HEMT structure with 3 μm isolation spacing, which is two-times higher than a conventional mesa-isolation HEMT. Moreover, the PI-HEMT device shows a low off-state leakage current of 2 × 10-8 mA/mm with a high Ion/Ioff ratio of 109 and a nearly ideal subthreshold slope of 61 mV/dec. This work demonstrates that polarization isolation is a promising alternative toward the plasma-damage-free isolation for GaN electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012104
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 4 2022

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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