DC and RF performance of lateral AlGaN/GaN FinFET with ultrathin gate dielectric
In this study, an enhancement-mode (E-mode) GaN high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with lateral tri-gate structure field effect transistor (FinFET) is proposed. To passivate the fin width, while keeping the normally-off performance of the FinFET intact, an ultrathin aluminium-oxide/sapphire (Al2O3) gate dielectric is proposed (in a basic single-finger 0.125 mm device). Later, the DC and radio frequency (RF) performances of the proposed FinFET designs (with optimized fin width and Al2O3 thickness) are compared with that of conventional planar HEMT. DC and RF measurements are performed using power transistors in ten-fingers configuration, with a total gate periphery of 2.5 mm. The effect of Fin structure and Al2O3 thickness on the electrical performance of HEMTs, including threshold voltage (Vth) shift, transconductance (gm) linearity, small-signal gain, cut off frequency (f t), output power (Pout), and power-added efficiency (PAE) are investigated. Based on our findings, FinFET configuration imposes normally-off functionality with a Vth = 0.2 V, while the planar architecture has a Vth = −3.7 V. Originating from passivation property of the alumina layer, the FinFET design exhibits two orders of magnitude smaller drain and gate leakage currents compared to the planar case. Moreover, large signal RF measurements reveals an improved Pout density by over 50% compared to planar device, attributed to reduced thermal resistance in FinFETs stemming from additional lateral heat spreading of sidewall gates. Owing to its superior DC and RF performance, the proposed FinFET design with ultrathin gate dielectric could bear the potential of reliable operating for microwave power applications, by further scaling of the gate length.