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Sunday, November 22, 2015

#332 III-Vs are not all the same

It appears that while referring to III-V semiconductor compounds we tend to see them as a homogeneous in terms of physical and chemical properties group of materials. We often compare elemental semiconductors (Si, Ge) with III-V semiconductors just as the latter would be a group of materials representing the same, or at least similar, basic characteristics. Well, it’s not exactly a case.


Consider for instance electron mobility and energy gap. Quite commonly we view III-Vs as the across the board high-electron mobility materials by saying for instance “high-electron mobility III-V channel materials”. Such statement is applicable to some III-V semiconductors, e.g. InSb featuring electron mobility of 80,000 cm2/V sec, but certainly is not applicable to some others such as GaN featuring 300 cm2/V electron mobility. The difference in the physical properties is further reflected in the drastic difference in the bandgap  which is definitely wide in the latter case (~3.4 eV), but very narrow in the former (0.18 eV).


From the chemical and electrochemical properties perspective the differences between various III-V semiconductors are equally pronounced. Let’s consider for instance major differences in oxidation potential, polarity and other material properties which in combination result in the drastically different etch characteristics displayed  by different III-V compounds.


The solution to this “III-V dilemma” seems to be increasingly common reference to the specific families of III-V compounds, namely arsenides (III-As), nitrides (III-N), phosphide (III-P) and antimonites (III-Sb) rather than to the entire class of III-V compounds.


Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 10:56 AM | Semiconductors | Link is the personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. With over 35 years of experience in academic research and teaching in the area of semiconductor engineering (currently holding position of a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University), he has a unique perspective on the developments in this progress driving technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.

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