A process for the formation of low-resistance Ni-Ge-Au ohmic contacts to n+ GaAs has been refined using multivariable screening and response surface experiments. Samples from the refined, low-resistance process (which measure 0.05 ± 0.02 Ω · mm) and the unrefined, higher resistance process (0.17 ± 0.02 Ω ·mm) were characterized using analytical electron microscopy (AEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), and x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) depth profiling methods. This approach was used to identify microstructural differences and compare them with electrical resistance measurements. Analytical results of the unrefined ohmic process sample reveal a heterogeneous, multiphase microstructure with a rough alloy-GaAs interface. The sample from the refined ohmic process exhibits an alloy which is homogeneous, smooth, and has a fine-grained microstructure with two uniformly distributed phases. XPS analysis for the refined ohmic process sample indicates that the Ge content is relatively depleted in the alloy (relative to the deposited Ge amount) and enriched in the GaAs. This is not evidenced in the unrefined ohmic process sample. Our data lead us to conclude that a smooth, uniform, two-phase microstructure, coupled with a shift in Ge content from the post-alloy metal to the GaAs, is important in forming low-resistance ohmic contacts.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Materials Research|
|Publication status||Published - May 1996|