Second to silicon (Si), the most highly developed technology for semiconductor processing exists for gallium arsenide (GaAs). Unfortunately, GaAs processing is more complex than that of Si, mainly because GaAs is a compound semiconductor. Additionally, the lack of a stable native GaAS oxide and other disadvantages relative to Si have prevented this material from expanding beyond the small niche of applications where its high intrinsic electron mobility, superior radiation hardness, and direct bandgap are essential. Adequate understanding and modeling of the process physics are important for extending the “process window” available to GaAs manufacturers and for increasing the appeal of this material. This article deals with one of the most important process events: dopant diffusion.
In the next section we briefly describe device-fabrication technology and show the importance of diffusion modeling in the prediction of device characteristics. We then review some elementary diffusion mechanisms and outline the dopants that are important in GaAs-processing technology as well as the methods by which these dopants are introduced into the substrate. In subsequent sections we review the research community's current understanding of diffusion mechanisms as well as model parameters for specific dopants. Much work has been done in this field, at Stanford and by other groups, since the publication of a major review of the subject by Tan et al. in 1991. In this article, we focus on these recent contributions.