Impact of AlGaN/GaN Interface and Passivation on the Robustness of Low-Noise Amplifiers
Journal article, 2020
Poststress dc characteristics of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs can be used to study the effect of high-power stress on the noise figure (NF) and gain of low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) subjected to large input overdrives. This enables a shift from circuit- to transistor-level measurements to investigate the impact of variations in HEMT design parameters on the robustness (including both recovery time and survivability) by mimicking LNA operation. Using this method, a tradeoff between survivability and recovery time is demonstrated for different AlGaN/GaN interface profiles (sharp interface, standard interface, and AlN interlayer). Furthermore, the impact of different surface passivation schemes (Si-rich, Si-poor, and bilayer SiNx) on robustness is investigated. The bilayer passivation, which features low leakage current and small gain compression under overdrive stress, exhibits relatively weak survivability. The mechanisms influencing the robustness are analyzed based on transistor physics. The short recovery time is mainly due to impeding the injection of hot electrons into surface traps and high reverse current, whereas the survivability is dependent on the local or global peak electrical fields around the gate under high power stress.
robust low-noise amplifier (LNA)