Thermal stress modelling of diamond on GaN/III-Nitride membranes

Jerome A. Cuenca, Matthew D. Smith, Daniel E. Field, Fabien C-P. Massabuau, Soumen Mandal, James Pomeroy, David J. Wallis, Rachel A. Oliver, Iain Thayne, Martin Kuball, Oliver A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Diamond heat-spreaders for gallium nitride (GaN) devices currently depend upon a robust wafer bonding process. Bonding-free membrane methods demonstrate potential, however, chemical vapour deposition (CVD) of diamond directly onto a III-nitride (III–N) heterostructure membrane induces significant thermal stresses. In this work, these thermal stresses are investigated using an analytical approach, a numerical model and experimental validation. The thermal stresses are caused by the mismatch in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between the GaN/III-N stack, silicon (Si) and the diamond from room temperature to CVD growth temperatures. Simplified analytical wafer bow models underestimate the membrane bow for small sizes while numerical models replicate the stresses and bows with increased accuracy using temperature gradients. The largest tensile stress measured using Raman spectroscopy at room temperature was approximately 1.0 ±0.2GPa while surface profilometry shows membrane bows as large as 58μm. This large bow is caused by additional stresses from the Si frame in the initial heating phase which are held in place by the diamond and highlights challenges for any device fabrication using contact lithography. However, the bow can be reduced if the membrane is pre-stressed to become flat at CVD temperatures. In this way, a sufficient platform to grow diamond on GaN/III-N structures without wafer bonding can be realised.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Early online date28 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2020


  • cvd diamond
  • allium nitride
  • membranes
  • thermal stress
  • finite element modelling


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