Tag Archives: GaAs

Parameter Analysis of the MESFET, Channel Width Calculation

Engineering design regularly involves an analysis of the formulae behind the various parameters of a system one is trying to build or improve. Some parameters are static, such a particular qualities of the materials being used. Perhaps there is a constraint made on the system or a goal, such as achieving function at a certain frequency or to reduce the size as much as possible. Today, many programs exist that can perform complicated calculations for the engineer. To construct a problem or calculation that produces the desired result may need more attention.

The MESFET uses a contact between n-doped semiconductor material with highly n-doped semiconductor material to form a junction field effect transistor. The great advantage of not using a p-doped semiconductor material is that the transistor can be built without using hole transfer. Since hole transfer is much slower than electron transfer, the MESFET can function much faster than other types of transistors.

For the MESFET, it may not be possible to examine all parameters. Consider first the following:


Potential variation along the channel (notice the similarity of the following to Ohm’s law, V=IR):


Where the resistance along the channel is:


Depletion Width (also referenced in the above formula) under the gate:


Pinch-off Voltage:


Threshold Voltage:


Built-in Potential:


The above formulas alone would be enough to put to use. While constructing a MESFET, it was found that the doping concentration of donor electrons in the channel played an important role. N_D, the donor doping concentration is found in most of the above formulas. The doping concentration is of particular importance, since it can be directly manipulated. The pinch-off voltage and the donor concentration are directly proportional. By achieving an estimate (or of the values are known) for other parameters, it would be possible to perform a parameter sweep for the MESFET system for doping concentration. This method may become critical for optimizing semiconductor device designs.


MESFET Design Problem

Let’s say we want to calculate the channel width of an n-channel GaAs MESFET with a gold Schottky barrier contact. The barrier height (φ_bn) is 0.89 V. The temperature is 300 K. The n-channel doping N_d is 2*10^15 cm^(-3). Design the channel thickness such that V_T = +0.25V.


GaAs MESFET Designs

A GaAs MESFET structure was built using Silvaco TCAD:

• Channel Donor Electrons: 2e17
• Channel thicknes s : 0.1 microns
• Bottom layer: p doped GaAs (5 micron thick, 1e15p doping)
• Gate length: 0.3 micron
• Gate metal work function: 4.77eV
•Separation between the source and drain electrode: 1 micron


The IV curve is as follows. Of primary importance are the two bottom curves, which are for a gate voltage of -0.2V and -0.5V. The top curve is 0V, over which would be undesirable for the MESFET operation.


Now, in terms of designing a MESFET, there is a large amount of theory that one may need to grasp to build one from scratch – you would probably first start by building one similar to a more common iteration. That said, there are a number of parameters that one may wish to tweak and to achieve, to name a few: saturation current, threshold voltage, transit frequency, maximum frequency, pinch-off voltage.

The iteration above does not show a highly doped region under the source and drain contacts. The separation between source and drain may also be increased and the size of the gate decreased.


Channel doping level was found to make a significant difference in overall function. The channel must be doped to a certain level, otherwise the structure may not behave properly as a transistor.

go atlas


# Define the mesh

mesh auto
x.m loc = 0 Spac=0.1
x.m loc = 1 Spac=0.05
x.m loc = 3 Spac=0.05
x.m loc = 4 Spac =0.1

# n region

region num=1 bottom thick = 0.1 material = GaAs NY = 10 donor = 2e17

# p region

region num=2 bottom thick = 5 material = GaAs NY = 4 acceptor = 1e15

# Electrode specification
elec num=1 name=source x.min=0.0 x.max=1.0 top
elec num=2 name=gate x.min=1.95 x.max=2.05 top
elec num=3 name=drain x.min=3.0 x.max=4 top

doping uniform conc=5.e18 n.type x.left=0. x.right=1 y.min=0 y.max=0.05
doping uniform conc=5.e18 n.type x.left=3 x.right=4 y.min=0 y.max=0.05

#Gate Metal Work Function
models fldmob srh optr fermidirac conmob print EVSATMOD=1
contact num=2 work=4.77

# specify lifetimes in GaAs and models
material material=GaAS taun0=1.e-8 taup0=1.e-8
method newton

solve vdrain=0.5
LOG outf=proj2mesfet500mVm.log
solve vgate=-2 vstep=0.25 vfinal=0 name=gate
save outf=proj2mesft.str
output band.param photogen opt.intens con.band val.band

tonyplot proj2mesft.str
tonyplot proj2mesfet500mVm.log