Influence of Surface Recombination on Forward Current–Voltage Characteristics of Mesa GaN Diodes Formed on GaN Free-Standing Substrates


The influence of surface recombination on forward current–voltage ( $I_{F}$–$V_{F}$) characteristics of gallium nitride (GaN) $hbox{p}^{+}hbox{n}$ diodes formed on GaN free-standing substrates was both experimentally and computationally investigated. In the temperature range of 373−273 K, the surface-recombination velocity $S$ of $hbox{0.5}hbox{-}muhbox{m} hbox{n}^{-}hbox{GaN}$ overetched circular-mesa diodes was derived, respectively, as $hbox{2} {-} hbox{10} times hbox{10}^{7}$ and $hbox{1} times hbox{10}^{7} hbox{cm/s}$ for diodes with and without a mesa-field-plate termination structure consisting of dielectric and metal layers. It was shown that $I_{F} (V_{F} < hbox{2.9} hbox{V})$ is dominated by carrier recombination at the side surface of the etched $hbox{n}^{-}hbox{GaN}$. The $I_{F}$–$V_{F}$ characteristics of the fabricated diodes were compared with the reported GaN $hbox{p}^{+}hbox{n}$ diodes with almost-zero overetched depth of $hbox{n}^{-}hbox{GaN}$ . The large $I_{F}$ of the lat-
er diodes is attributed to enhanced photon recycling through photon reflection at the metal mirror. Moreover, reducing $S$ to less than $ hbox{10}^{5} hbox{cm/s}$ is considered indispensible for achieving similar enhanced photon recycling in overetched terminated diodes.

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