Skip to Main Content
We have identified at least five different kinds of local breakdown according to the temperature coefficient (TC) and slope of their characteristics and electroluminescence (EL) under a reverse bias. These are 1) early prebreakdown (negative TC, low slope), 2) edge breakdown (positive TC, low slope, no EL), 3) weak defect-induced breakdown (zero or weakly negative TC, moderate slope, 1550-nm defect luminescence), 4) strong defect-induced breakdown (zero or weakly negative TC, moderate slope, no or weak defect luminescence), and 5) avalanche breakdown at dislocation-induced etch pits (negative TC, high slope). The latter mechanism usually dominates at a high reverse bias. The defects leading to the etch pits are investigated in detail. In addition to the local breakdown sites, there is evidence of an areal reverse current between the dominant breakdown sites showing a positive TC. Defect-induced breakdown shows a zero or weakly negative TC and also leads to weak avalanche multiplication. It has been found recently that it is caused by metal-containing precipitates lying in grain boundaries.