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Room-Temperature Ballistic Transport in III-Nitride Heterostructures

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journal contribution
posted on 11.02.2015, 00:00 by Elison Matioli, Tomás Palacios
Room-temperature (RT) ballistic transport of electrons is experimentally observed and theoretically investigated in III-nitrides. This has been largely investigated at low temperatures in low band gap III–V materials due to their high electron mobilities. However, their application to RT ballistic devices is limited by their low optical phonon energies, close to KT at 300 K. In addition, the short electron mean-free-path at RT requires nanoscale devices for which surface effects are a limitation in these materials. We explore the unique properties of wide band-gap III-nitride semiconductors to demonstrate RT ballistic devices. A theoretical model is proposed to corroborate experimentally their optical phonon energy of 92 meV, which is ∼4× larger than in other III–V semiconductors. This allows RT ballistic devices operating at larger voltages and currents. An additional model is described to determine experimentally a characteristic dimension for ballistic transport of 188 nm. Another remarkable property is their short carrier depletion at device sidewalls, down to 13 nm, which allows top-down nanofabrication of very narrow ballistic devices. These results open a wealth of new systems and basic transport studies possible at RT.