We investigated arrays of Ni, Pt, or Ti Schottky diodes on n -type 4H-SiC epitaxial layers using current-voltage (I-V) measurements, electron beam induced current (EBIC), polarized light microscopy, x-ray topography, and depth-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy. A significant percentage of diodes (∼7%-30% depending on epitaxial growth method and diode size) displayed "nonideal" or inhomogeneous barrier height characteristics. We used a thermionic emission model based on two parallel diodes to determine the barrier heights and ideality factors of high- and low-barrier regions within individual nonideal diodes. Whereas high-barrier barrier heights increased with metal work function, low-barrier barrier heights remained constant at ∼0.60, 0.85, and 1.05 eV. The sources of these nonidealities were investigated with a variety of spectroscopic and imaging techniques to determine the nature and energy levels of the defects. EBIC indicated that clusters of defects occurred in all inhomogeneous diodes. Cathodoluminescence spectra revealed additional peaks in the nonideal diodes at 2.65, 2.40, and 2.20 eV, which complement the low-barrier barrier heights. It is proposed that defect clusters act to locally pin the Fermi level, creating localized low-barrier patches, which account for the inhomogeneous electrical characteristics. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.
2007. Vol. 101, no 11