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AlGaN/GaN high-electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) were fabricated on SiC substrates with epitaxial layers grown by multiple suppliers and methods. Devices with gate lengths varying from 0.50 to 0.09 mum were fabricated on each sample. We demonstrate the impact of varying the gate lengths and show that the unity current gain frequency response (fT) is limited by short-channel effects for all samples measured. We present an empirically based physical model that can predict the expected extrinsic fT for many combinations of gate length and commonly used barrier layer thickness (tbar) on silicon nitride passivated T-gated AlGaN/GaN HEMTs. The result is that even typical high-aspect-ratio (gate length to barrier thickness) devices show device performance limitations due to short-channel effects. We present the design tradeoffs and show the parameter space required to achieve optimal frequency performance for GaN technology. These design rules differ from the traditional GaAs technology by requiring a significantly higher aspect ratio to mitigate the short-channel effects.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2007