Thermionic emission from the 2DEG assisted by image-charge-induced barrier lowering in AlInN/AlN/GaN heterostructures.

Research paper by A A Minj, D D Cavalcoli, A A Cavallini

Indexed on: 01 Mar '12Published on: 01 Mar '12Published in: Nanotechnology


The effect of image charges on current transport mechanisms investigated at the nanoscale in Al(1-x)In(x)N/GaN heterostructures was studied. Current-voltage (I-V) measurements were performed locally using a conductive AFM-tip as a nanoprobe and the conduction mechanism was modeled to explain the observed behavior. This model suggests that current transport is controlled by thermionic emission (TE) of the two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) across the potential barrier at the heterointerface, where the image charges generated by the 2DEG induce a barrier lowering at the Al(1-x)In(x)N/GaN interface, enhancing electron transport. This barrier lowering depends on the 2DEG characteristics, such as 2DEG density n(2D), first subband energy E₀ and the average distance x₀ of the 2DEG from the interface. By fitting the experimental I-V curves with the present model the 2DEG density was evaluated. The obtained results were in very good agreement with the Hall measurements.