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Modeling of Nitride Semiconductor Based Double Heterostructure Tunnel Diodes

  • M. Moret (a1), S. Ruffenach (a1), O. Briot (a1) and R.L. Aulombard (a1)

Abstract

Double heterostructure diodes were widely studied in the 80's, based on the use of “classical” III-V materials, i.e. based on (Ga, Al, In, As, P). Negative differential conductivities were predicted in these systems, making them highly interesting for hyperfrequency applications, but experimental results were always far from theoretical predictions, which resulted in a loss of interest for these systems. Recently, there has been a lot of efforts devoted to Nitride semiconductors, based on (Al,Ga,In)N alloys. These materials have been regarded as potential candidates for high frequency, high power applications, since they both exhibit high electron saturation velocities and high thermal and chemical stability. Moreover, although they usually contain a lot of growth defects, device properties were surprisingly good with regards to defect densities. In this work, we have modeled double heterostructure tunnel diodes based on AlGaN/GaN system. The extremely high conduction band offset in these materials, along with the quite low dielectric constants, and built-in electric fields (originating from both the spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization), are extremely favorable parameters, which may renew the interest for such devices in this material system. It will be shown that the built-in electric field leads to a symmetric potential profile under a given external applied bias, which optimizes the transmission coefficient in the structure. We have calculated extremely high peak/valley ratios, which suggests that even mid quality samples could still exhibit interesting device properties.

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