The avalanche multiplication and excess noise characteristics of 4H-SiC avalanche photodiodes with i-region widths of 0.105 and 0.285 mum have been investigated using 230-365-nm light, while the responsivities of the photodiodes at unity gain were examined for wavelengths up to 375 nm. Peak unity gain responsivities of more than 130 mA/W at 265 nm, equivalent to quantum efficiencies of more than 60%, were obtained for both structures. The measured avalanche characteristics show, that beta > alpha and that the beta/alpha ratio remains large even in thin 4H-SiC avalanche regions. Very low excess noise, corresponding to k(eff) < 0.15 in the local noise model, where k(eff) = alpha/beta(beta/alpha) for hole (electron) injection, was measured with 365-nm light in both structures. Modeling the experimental results using a simple quantum efficiency model and a nonlocal description yields effective ionization threshold energies of 12 and 8 eV for electrons and holes, respectively, and suggests that the dead space in 4H-SiC is soft. Although dead space is important, pure hole injection is still required to ensure low excess noise in thin 4H-SiC APDs owing to beta/alpha ratios that remain large, even at very high fields
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