Silicon carbide (SiC) is currently under development for high power bipolar devices such as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). A major issue for these devices is the charge carrier lifetime, which, in the absence of structural defects such as dislocations, is influenced by point defects and their associated deep levels. These defects provide energy levels within the bandgap and may act as either recombination or trapping centers, depending on whether they interact with both conduction and valence band or only one of the two bands. Of all deep levels know in 4H-SiC, the intrinsic carbon vacancy related Z1/2 is the most problematic since it is a very effective recombination center which is unavoidably formed during growth. Its concentration in the epilayer can be decreased for the production of high voltage devices by injecting interstitial carbon, for example by oxidation, which, however, results in the formation of other new deep levels.
Apart from intrinsic crystal flaws, extrinsic defects such as transition metals may also produce deep levels within the bandgap, which in literature have so far only been shown to produce trapping effects.
The focus of the thesis is the transient electrical and optical characterization of deep levels in SiC and their influence on the carrier lifetime. For this purpose, deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) and minority carrier transient spectroscopy (MCTS) variations were used in combination with time-resolved photoluminescence (TRPL). Paper 1 deals with a lifetime limiting deep level related to Fe-incorporation in n-type 4H-SiC during growth and papers 2 and 3 focus on identifying the main intrinsic recombination center in p-type 4H-SiC. In paper 4, the details of the charge carrier capture behavior of the deeper donor levels of the carbon vacancy, EH6/7, are investigated. Paper 5 deals with trapping effects created by unwanted incorporation of high amounts of boron during growth of n-type 4H-SiC which hinders the measurement of the carrier lifetime by room temperature TRPL. Finally, paper 6 is concerned with the characterization of oxidation-induced deep levels created in n- and p-type 4H- and 6H-SiC as a side-product of lifetime improvement by oxidation.
In paper 1, the appearance of a new recombination center in n-type 4H-SiC, the RB1 level is discussed and the material is analyzed using room temperature TRPL, DLTS and pnjunction DLTS. The level appears to originate from a reactor contamination with Fe, a transition metal that generally leads to the formation of several trapping centers in the bandgap. Here it is found that under specific circumstances beneficial to the growth of high-quality material with a low Z1/2 concentration, the Fe incorporation also creates an additional recombination center capable of limiting the carrier lifetime.
In paper 2, all deep levels found in p-type 4H-SiC grown at Linköping University which are accessible by DLTS and MCTS are investigated with regard to their efficiency as recombination centers. We find that none of the detectable levels is able to reduce carrier lifetime in p-type significantly, which points to the lifetime killer being located in the top half of the bandgap and having a large hole to electron capture cross section ratio (such as Z1/2, which is found in n-type material), making it undetectable by DLTS and MCTS.
Paper 3 compares carrier lifetimes measured by temperature-dependent TRPL measurements in n- and p-type 4H-SiC and it is shown that the lifetime development over a large temperature range (77 - 1000 K) is similar in both types. This is interpreted as a further indication that the carbon vacancy related Z1/2 level is the main lifetime killer in p-type.
In paper 4, the hole and electron capture cross sections of the near midgap deep levels EH6/7 are characterized. Both levels are capable of rapid electron capture but have only small hole capture rates, making them insignificant as recombination centers, despite their advantageous position near midgap.
Minority carrier trapping by boron, which is both a p-type dopant and an unavoidable contaminant in 4H-SiC grown by CVD, is investigated in paper 5. Since even the shallow boron acceptor levels are relatively deep in the bandgap, minority trap and-release effects are detectable in room-temperature TRPL measurements. In case a high density of boron exists in n-type 4H-SiC, for example leached out from damaged graphite reactor parts during growth, we demonstrate that these trapping effects may be misinterpreted in room temperature TRPL measurements as a long free carrier lifetime.
Paper 6 uses MCTS, DLTS, and room temperature TRPL to characterize the oxidation induced deep levels ON1 and ON2 in n- and p-type 4H- and their counterparts OS1-OS3 in 6H-SiC. The levels are found to all be positive-U, coupled two-levels defects which trap electrons efficiently but exhibit very inefficient hole capture once the defect is fully occupied by electrons. It is shown that these levels are incapable of significantly influencing carrier lifetime in epilayers which underwent high temperature lifetime enhancement oxidations. Due to their high density after oxidation and their high thermal stability they may, however, act to compensate n-type doping in low-doped material.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 29 p.
Silicon carbide; Deep level transient spectroscopy; Deep level; Carrier lifetime; Time-resolved photoluminescence