The effect of CH4/H2 reactive ion etching (RIE) on Si-doped AlxGa1−xAs (x=0.25) is studied by deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) and Hall measurements. After RIE exposure, the samples were annealed between 250 and 500°C in order to study the recovery kinetics of deep and shallow levels. Non-etched reference samples showed broad DLTS spectra which were deconvoluted in two different emission peaks. We assigned them to DX1 and DX2 centers. The different deep levels are characierized by different aluminium configurations, one or two aluminium atoms, surrounding the silicon donor which are responsible for the DX centers. After RIE exposure and subsequent thermal annealing, a third emission peak is observed. This emission is attributed to the DX3 center, which is characterized by three aluminium atoms neighbouring the silicon donor. The recovery activation energy is calculated based on first-order kinetics. The activation energies are found to be around 1.9 eV in all cases.
Complementary Hall measurements as a function of temperature (4-300 K) were used to characterize the electron capture of deep levels in Si-doped AlGaAs exposed to CH4/H2 RIE. We observed that the samples exposed to RIE and annealed at temperatures higher than 400°C exhibit electron capture in the 120-150 K temperature range. On the other hand, samples annealed at lower temperatures, showed additional capture features between 200 and 230 K.