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Fabrication and characterisation of microscale air bridges in conductive gallium nitride

Xiong, C. and Massoubre, D. and Gu, E. and Dawson, M.D. and Watson, I.M. (2009) Fabrication and characterisation of microscale air bridges in conductive gallium nitride. Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing, 96 (2). pp. 495-501. ISSN 0947-8396

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Abstract

Fabrication and electrical characterisation of microscale air bridges consisting of GaN heavily doped with silicon is described. These were made from GaN-AlInN-GaN epitaxial trilayers on sapphire substrates, in which the AlInN was close to the composition lattice matched to GaN at ∼17% InN fraction. The start of the fabrication sequence used inductively coupled plasma etching with chlorine chemistry to define mesas. In situ monitoring by laser reflectometry indicated an AlInN vertical etch rate of 400 nm/minute, ∼70% of the etch rate of GaN. Processing was completed by lateral wet etching of the AlInN in hot nitric acid to leave GaN microbridges supported between anchor posts at both ends. Deposition of Ti-Au contact pads onto the anchor posts allowed study of the electrical characteristics. At low applied voltages, vertical conduction through the undoped AlInN layers was minimal in comparison with the current path through the Si:GaN bridges. Typical structures showed highly linear current-voltage characteristics at low applied voltages, and had resistances of 1050 Ω. The observed resistance values are compared with the predicted value based on materials parameters and an idealised geometry. The microbridges showed damage from Joule heating only at current densities above 2×105 A cm−2.