Characterization of the metal–semiconductor interface of gold contacts on CdZnTe formed by electroless deposition

Fully spectroscopic x/γ-ray imaging is now possible thanks to advances in the growth of wide-bandgap semiconductors. One of the most promising materials is cadmium zinc telluride (CdZnTe or CZT), which has been demonstrated in homeland security, medical imaging, astrophysics and industrial analysis applications. These applications have demanding energy and spatial resolution requirements that are not always met by the metal contacts deposited on the CdZnTe. To improve the contacts, the interface formed between metal and semiconductor during contact deposition must be better understood. Gold has a work function closely matching that of high resistivity CdZnTe and is a popular choice of contact metal. Gold contacts are often formed by electroless deposition however this forms a complex interface. The prior CdZnTe surface preparation, such as mechanical or chemo-mechanical polishing, and electroless deposition parameters, such as gold chloride solution temperature, play important roles in the formation of the interface and are the subject of the presented work. Techniques such as focused ion beam (FIB) cross section imaging, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and current  −  voltage (IV) analysis have been used to characterize the interface. It has been found that the electroless reaction depends on the surface preparation and for chemo-mechanically polished (1 1 1) CdZnTe, it also depends on the A/B face identity. Where the deposition occurred at elevated temperature, the deposited contacts were found to produce a greater leakage current and suffered from increased subsurface voiding due to the formation of cadmium chloride.


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