Nondestructive Microstructural Investigation of Defects in 4H-SiC Epilayers Using a Multiscale Luminescence Analysis Approach

Sami El Hageali, Harvey Guthrey, Steven Johnston, Jake Soto, Bruce Odekirk, Brian Gorman, Mowafak Al-Jassim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


The development of metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) utilizing epitaxially grown 4H-SiC has accelerated in recent years due to their favorable properties, including a high breakdown field, high saturated electron drift velocity, and good thermal conductivity. However, extended defects in epitaxial 4H-SiC can affect both device yields and operational lifetime. In this work, we demonstrate the importance of a multiscale luminescence characterization approach to studying nondestructively extended defects in epitaxial 4H-SiC semiconducting materials. Multiscale luminescence analysis reveals different aspects of excess charge carrier recombination behavior based on the scale of a particular measurement. Combining measurements of the same extended defect area at different scales tells us more about the essential nature of that defect and its microstructure. Here, we use photoluminescence imaging and cathodoluminescence spectrum imaging to investigate the recombination behavior of several different types of extended defects, including stacking faults, inclusions, and basal plane dislocations. A detailed understanding of the optoelectronic properties of extended defects in epitaxial SiC helps elucidate the microstructure of extended defects and can provide pathways to mitigate detrimental changes during device operation related to their evolution, such as the recombination enhanced dislocation glide effect that affects SiC-based MOSFETs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number185705
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - 14 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-80891


  • 3C-inclusion
  • 4H-SiC
  • luminescence
  • multiscale analysis
  • stacking faults


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