Aluminum, Finite differences, Light emitting diodes, Lithography, Electron beam, Optical detectors, Polarization (Light), Surface plasmon resonance, Time domain analysis, Ultraviolet radiation


The present work aims at enhancing the external quantum efficiencies of ultra-violet (UV) sensitive photodetectors (PDs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs)for any light polarization. Deep UV solid state devices are made out of AlGaN or MgZnO and their performances suffer from the high resistivity of their p-doped regions. They require transparent p-contacts; yet the most commonly used transparent contacts have low transmission in the UV: indium tin oxide (ITO) and nickel-gold (Ni/Au 5/5 nms) transmit less than 50% and 30% respectively at 300 nm. Here we investigate the use of surface plasmons (SPs) to design transparent p-contacts for AlGaN devices in the deep UV region of the spectrum. The appeal of using surface plasmon coupling arose from the local electromagnetic field enhancement near the metal surface as well as the increase in interaction time between the field and semiconductor if placed on top of a semiconductor. An in/out-coupling mechanism is achieved by using a grating consisting of two perpendicularly oriented sets of parallel aluminum lines with periods as low as 250 nm. The incident light is first coupled into SPs at the air/aluminum interface which then re-radiate at the aluminum/AlGaN interface and the photons energy is transferred to SP polaritons (SPPs) and back to photons. High transmission can be achieved not only at normal incidence but for a wider range of incident angles. iv A finite difference time domain (FDTD) package from R-Soft was used to simulate and design such aluminum gratings with transparency as high as 100% with tunable peak wavelength, bandwidth and angular acceptance. A rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA) was developed in Matlab to validate the FDTD results. The high UV transparency meshes were then fabricated using an e-beam assisted lithography lift-off process. Their electrical and optical properties were investigated. The electrical characterization was very encouraging; the sheet resistances of these meshes were lower than those of the conventionally used transparent contacts. The optical transmissions were lower than expected and the causes for the lower measurements have been investigated. The aluminum oxidation, the large metal grain size and the line edge roughness were identified as the main factors of inconsistency and solutions are proposed to improve these shortcomings. The effect of aluminum oxidation was calculated and the passivation of aluminum with SiO2 was evaluated as a solution. A cold deposition of aluminum reduced the aluminum grain size from 60 nm to 20 nm and the roughness from 5 nm to 0.5 nm. Furthermore, replacing the conventional lift-off process by a dry back-etch process led to much smoother metal line edges and much high optical transparency. The optical measurements were consistent with the simulations. Therefore, reduced roughness and smooth metal line edges were found to be especially critical considerations for deep UV application of the meshes.


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Graduation Date





Schoenfeld, Winston


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics








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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic