Use of two-dimensional hole gas (2DHG), induced on a hydrogenated diamond surface, is a solution to overcoming one of demerits of diamond, i.e., deep energy levels of impurities. This 2DHG is affected by its environment and accordingly needs a passivation film to get a stable device operation especially at high temperature. In response to this requirement, we achieved the high-reliability passivation forming an Al2O3 film on the diamond surface using an atomic-layer-deposition (ALD) method with an H 2O oxidant at 450 °C. The 2DHG thus protected survived air annealing at 550 °C for an hour, establishing a stable high-temperature operation of 2DHG devices in air. In part, this achievement is based on high stability of C-H bonds up to 870 °C in vacuum and above 450 °C in an H2O-containing environment as in the ALD. Chemically, this stability is supported by the fact that both the thermal decomposition of C-H bonds and reaction between C-H bonds and H2O are endothermic processes. It makes a stark contrast to the instability of Si-H bonds, which decompose even at room temperature being exposed to atomic hydrogen. In this respect, the diamond 2DHG devices are also promising as power devices expectedly being free from many instability phenomena, such as hot carrier effect and negative-bias temperature instability, associated with Si devices. As to adsorbate, which is the other prerequisite for 2DHG, it desorbed in vacuum below 250 °C, and accordingly some new adsorbates should have adsorbed during the ALD at 450 °C. As a clue to this question, we certainly confirmed that some adsorbates, other than those at room temperature, adsorbed in air above 100 °C and remained at least up to 290 °C. The identification of these adsorbates is open for further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas