Electron scattering mechanisms at polar GaN/AlGaN interfaces

Leonardo Hsu, W. Walukiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We present recent results of calculations of charge transfer and electron mobilities in nominally undoped AlGaN/GaN heterostructures. It has previously been proposed that the two-dimensional electron gas (2-DEG) originates from donor-like defects on the surface of the AlGaN barrier. We have made detailed calculations of a model in which these defects are created under thermodynamic equilibrium at the growth temperature and show that the spontaneous and strain-induced piezoelectric fields in the AlGaN barrier enhance the formation of these defects. In calculating the low temperature electron mobility in these structures, we consider all the major scattering mechanisms including acoustic phonons, Coulomb scattering from charged centers, and alloy disorder scattering. The relative importance of the different scattering mechanisms depends strongly on the 2-DEG density. At densities smaller than about 2×1012 cm-2, the mobility is limited by Coulomb scattering. At higher densities, alloy disorder scattering becomes the dominant electron scattering process. Finally, we have calculated the ratio of the transport to quantum lifetimes τtq for various AlGaN/GaN heterostructures and find that the value of the ratio cannot be used to infer the nature of the dominant scattering mechanism, as is traditionally assumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-162
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
EventUltrafast Phenomena in Semiconductors VI - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2002Jan 25 2002


  • Defects
  • GaN
  • Heterostructure
  • Mobility
  • Quantum lifetime
  • Scattering mechanism
  • Transport
  • Transport lifetime
  • Two-dimensional electron gas


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