The electrical behaviour of graphene (Gr) contacts to AlxGa1−xN/GaN heterostructures has been investigated, focusing, in particular, on the impact of the AlGaN microstructure on the current transport at Gr/AlGaN interface. Two Al0.25Ga0.75N/GaN heterostructures with very different quality in terms of surface roughness and defectivity, as evaluated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and transmission electron microscopy, were compared in this study, i.e., a uniform and defect-free sample and a sample with a high density of typical V-defects, which locally cause a reduction of the AlGaN thickness. Nanoscale resolution current voltage (I-V) measurements by an Au coated conductive AFM tip were carried out at several positions both on the bare and Gr-coated AlGaN surfaces. Rectifying contacts were found onto both bare AlGaN surfaces, but with a more inhomogeneous and lower Schottky barrier height (ΦB ≈ 0.6 eV) for AlGaN with V-defects, with respect to the case of the uniform AlGaN (ΦB ≈ 0.9 eV). Instead, very different electrical behaviours were observed in the presence of the Gr interlayer between the Au tip and AlGaN, i.e., a Schottky contact with reduced barrier height (ΦB ≈ 0.4 eV) for the uniform AlGaN and an Ohmic contact for the AlGaN with V-defects. Interestingly, excellent lateral uniformity of the local I-V characteristics was found in both cases and can be ascribed to an averaging effect of the Gr electrode over the AlGaN interfacial inhomogeneities. Due to the locally reduced AlGaN layer thickness, V defect act as preferential current paths from Gr to the 2DEG and can account for the peculiar Ohmic behaviour of Gr contacts on defective AlGaN.

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