Optoelectronic and Structural Characterization of Trapezoidal Defects in 4H-SiC Epilayers and the Effect on MOSFET Reliability: Article No. 075704

Sami El Hageali, Harvey Guthrey, Steven Johnston, Andrew Norman, Jake Soto, Bruce Odekirk, Robert Stahlbush, Nadeemullah Mahadik, Brian Gorman, Mowafak Al-Jassim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To this day, trapezoidal defects are found in clusters and high counts in wafers representing the industry standard in terms of material quality being produced. This study sheds light on the nature, origin, behavior, and impact of this defect on device yield and reliability. Trapezoidal defects in 4H-SiC epitaxial layers were investigated by photoluminescence (PL) imaging, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), cathodoluminescence spectrum imaging (CLSI), SEM electron beam induced current (EBIC) imaging, and by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation. The bar-shaped stacking faults were identified by the PL and CL measurements with a peak emission wavelength of 420 and 450 nm. An optoelectronic behavioral study based on the recombination enhanced dislocation glide mechanism revealed how expanding dislocations and stacking faults interact with each other. Combining the luminescence and microscopy results, the nature of the stacking faults was identified as being a combination of Shockley-type and Frank-type stacking faults. The TEM analysis showed that these defects originate from the substrate and the stacking sequences of some of the faults were determined as (...2, 4, 2...) and (...2, 3, 2...) in the Zhdanov's notation by high-resolution TEM. The origin of this defect is speculated based on our results and previous reports. The EBIC imaging showed that the high density of SFs in these towers is a strong site of carrier recombination, which presumably has an impact on the transfer characteristics of SiC devices. Furthermore, these defects have shown to impact metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors electrical performance via an increase in the on-state resistance depending on the coverage percentage of the tower of defects in the active area of the device.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-84316


  • 4H-SiC
  • trapezoidal defect


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