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AlGaN/GaN high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) with indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent gate electrodes have been fabricated. The transparent gate electrodes enable the investigation of photon, electron, and phonon behaviors in active regions in HEMTs using optical characterizations such as electroluminescence, photoluminescence, and Raman spectroscopy technologies. Leakage current, on/off ratio, and transparency have been compared for transistors using Ni/Au/Ni, ITO, and Ni/ITO stacks as gate electrodes. Compared to the Ni/Au/Ni gate transistor, the ITO gate device shows a comparable current gain cutoff frequency (f T) but a much lower power gain cutoff frequency (f max) due to the low conductivity of ITO.