Applied Physics Letters, vol.121, no.11, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 Author(s).We report ultra-high responsivity of epitaxial (Sn x Ga 1 - x) 2 O 3 (TGO) Schottky UV-C photodetectors and experimentally identified the source of gain as deep-level defects, supported by first principles calculations. Epitaxial TGO films were grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy on (-201) oriented n-type β- Ga 2 O 3 substrates. Fabricated vertical Schottky devices exhibited peak responsivities as high as 3.5 × 10 4 A/W at -5 V applied bias under 250 nm illumination with sharp cutoff shorter than 280 nm and fast rise/fall time in milliseconds order. Hyperspectral imaging cathodoluminescence (CL) spectra were examined to find the mid-bandgap defects, the source of this high gain. Irrespective of different tin mole fractions, the TGO epilayer exhibited extra CL peaks at the green band (∼2.20 eV) not seen in β- Ga 2 O 3 along with enhancement of the blue emission-band (∼2.64 eV) and suppression of the UV emission-band. Based on hybrid functional calculations of the optical emission expected for defects involving Sn in β- Ga 2 O 3, VGa-Sn complexes are proposed as potential defect origins of the observed green and blue emission-bands. Such complexes behave as acceptors that can efficiently trap photogenerated holes and are predicted to be predominantly responsible for the ultra-high photoconductive gain in the Sn-alloyed Ga 2 O 3 devices by means of thermionic emission and electron tunneling. Regenerating the VGa-Sn defect complexes by optimizing the growth techniques, we have demonstrated a planar Schottky UV-C photodetector of the highest peak responsivity.