Deep Donor Behavior of Iron in β-Ga2O3 Crystals: Establishing the Fe4+/3+ Level

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The Fe4+/3+ donor level is experimentally determined to be 0.70 eV (±0.05 eV) above the valence band maximum in β-Ga2O3. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is used to monitor Fe3+ ions that are unintentionally present in an Mg-doped β-Ga2O3 crystal (with a low Fermi level). For temperatures near 255 K, exposure to 325 nm laser light converts a portion of the Fe3+ ions to Fe4+ and Fe2+ ions and, at the same time, forms neutral magnesium acceptors (Mg0Ga) and neutral Ir donors (Ir3+). After removing the light, the intensity of the Fe3+ EPR spectrum has a significant additional decrease as holes thermally released to the valence band from rapidly decaying neutral Mg acceptors are trapped at Fe3+ ions and form even more Fe4+ ions. This demonstrates that the Mg0/- acceptor level, near 0.65 eV, is closer to the valence band than the Fe4+/3+ level. Following the fast initial post-light decrease, the Fe3+ spectrum then slowly recovers as Fe4+ ions are destroyed by electrons thermally excited from the valence band. An activation energy for the thermal decay of the Fe4+ donors, and thus a value for the Fe4+/3+ level, is obtained from the analysis of five Fe3+ isothermal recovery curves taken from the Mg-doped crystal between 250 and 270 K. A first-order kinetics model is used, as minimal retrapping is observed. In separate experiments, EPR shows that Fe4+ ions are also produced in an Fe-doped β-Ga2O3 crystal (without Mg acceptors) during exposures to laser light at temperatures near 255 K. Abstract © 2020 Author(s).


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Plain-text title: Deep donor behavior of iron in β-Ga 2 O 3 crystals: Establishing the Fe 4+/3+ level.

Funding note: The present work was funded in part by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Award No. F4FGA08054J003.

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Journal of Applied Physics