Passivation of Deep Levels by Hydrogen

  • Stephen J. Pearton
  • James W. Corbett
  • Michael Stavola
Part of the Springer Series in Materials Science book series (SSMATERIALS, volume 16)


Deep levels created in single-crystal semiconductors by metallic impurities or lattice defects of either point or extended type have a very deleterious effect on device performance. They have a strong influence on the minority carrier lifetime in the material and a direct effect on the breakdown voltage of Schottky diodes or p-n junctions. The deep levels reduce the breakdown voltage below the bulk breakdown values, and in diodes one usually observes an increase in the reverse leakage current and large amplitude fluctuations of the current near the region of breakdown. The reverse currents can be as much as six orders of magnitude higher in diodes containing defects compared to those fabricated on defect-free material. This can be seen from the relation
$${{\rm{I}}_{\rm{R}}} = {{\rm{e}} \over 2}\left( {{{{{\rm{n}}_{\rm{i}}}} \over {{\tau _{\rm{o}}}}}} \right){\rm{WA}}$$
where IR is the reverse current due to deep-level emission processes in the depletion region, ni is the intrinsic carrier concentration in the material, r0 is the effective lifetime of carriers in the depletion region, W is the depletion depth, and A is the area of the contact on the diode. The presence of deep levels can substantially reduce the minority carrier lifetime, leading to an increase in IR. A tremendous amount of effort has gone into the characterization, understanding and eradication of deep levels in semiconductors, particularly Si. It is in the latter sense, namely a reduction in the density of electrically active deep levels, that the interest in the role of hydrogen on these entities has been most acute.


Deep Level Hydrogen Plasma Hole Trap Dangling Bond Minority Carrier Lifetime 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Pearton
    • 1
  • James W. Corbett
    • 2
  • Michael Stavola
    • 3
  1. 1.AT&T Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.Physics DepartmentLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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