Hydrogen gas sensors based on Pt/GaN Schottky diode structures were fabricated and their responses to hydrogen were studied. These diodes were fabricated on Si doped GaN layer (Nd = 1×1017). Three sets of diodes were fabricated with 80 Å, 240 Å and 400 Å of Pt for the Schottky contacts. The electronic performances of 0.25 × 0.25 mm devices were tested in up to 1 % H2 gas in synthetic air (79% N2, 21% O2) by volume. The devices were operated in constant current mode in a forward bias condition. The change in voltage was monitored with the diodes exposed to hydrogen and to dry air at varying temperatures. The responses increased as the thickness of the Schottky metal contact decreased at any given temperature up to 310 °C. The trend of increasing response with decreasing thickness was also observed in 0.5 × 0.5 mm and 1.0 × 1.0 mm size Schottky diodes. SEM studies of the microstructure showed that the thinner Pt devices had higher grain boundary densities. The increase in sensitivity with decreasing thickness points to the dissociation of molecular hydrogen on the surface, the diffusion of atomic hydrogen through the Pt grain boundaries and the adsorption of hydrogen to the surface as a possible mechanism of sensing of hydrogen by Schottky diodes.
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The authors acknowledge the useful discussions on catalytic behavior with John Lemmon and Jonathan Male at GE GRC during the course of this work.
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Tilak, V., Ali, M., Cimalla, V. et al. Influence of metal thickness to sensitivity of Pt/GaN Schottky diodes for gas sensing applications. MRS Online Proceedings Library 798, 17–21 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-798-Y11.5