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Simplified Model for Ballistic Current-Voltage Characteristic in Cylindrical Nanowires

Simplified Model for Ballistic Current-Voltage Characteristic in Cylindrical Nanowires

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Published by Oka Kurniawan
Microelectronic Journal, vol. 41, pp. 155-161, 2010

doi:10.1016/j.mejo.2010.01.013

The ballistic regime gives the upper limit of an electron device performance. This paper proposes a fast and efficient model for calculating the current-voltage characteristic of a cylindrical nanowire within the framework of the Non-equilibrium Green's Function. Under certain assumptions, the calculation is simplified to a one dimensional problem and the modes due to the radial confinement are given by an analytical equation. We further derive an analytical expression for the current-voltage characteristic at temperature approaching zero Kelvin. The relationship between the radius of the nanowire and the electrical current is clearly shown in this expression. The effects of the radius on the current-voltage characteristic curve are also studied. Furthermore, we plot the trend of the saturation current as the radius is increased as predicted by both the numerical result and our analytical model. Our proposed model can be further used to include electron-photon interaction in the calculation of nanoscale optoelectronic devices.
Microelectronic Journal, vol. 41, pp. 155-161, 2010

doi:10.1016/j.mejo.2010.01.013

The ballistic regime gives the upper limit of an electron device performance. This paper proposes a fast and efficient model for calculating the current-voltage characteristic of a cylindrical nanowire within the framework of the Non-equilibrium Green's Function. Under certain assumptions, the calculation is simplified to a one dimensional problem and the modes due to the radial confinement are given by an analytical equation. We further derive an analytical expression for the current-voltage characteristic at temperature approaching zero Kelvin. The relationship between the radius of the nanowire and the electrical current is clearly shown in this expression. The effects of the radius on the current-voltage characteristic curve are also studied. Furthermore, we plot the trend of the saturation current as the radius is increased as predicted by both the numerical result and our analytical model. Our proposed model can be further used to include electron-photon interaction in the calculation of nanoscale optoelectronic devices.

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Published by: Oka Kurniawan on Jan 28, 2010
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Simplified Model for Ballistic Current-VoltageCharacteristic in Cylindrical Nanowires
Oka Kurniawan
1
, Man-Fai Ng
1
, Wee Shing Koh
1
, Zuan Yi Leong
1
,Erping Li
1
Institute of High Performance Computing Singapore, 138632 
Abstract
The ballistic regime gives the upper limit of an electron device performance.This paper proposes a fast and efficient model for calculating the current-voltage characteristic of a cylindrical nanowire within the framework of theNon-equilibrium Green’s Function. Under certain assumptions, the calcula-tion is simplified to a one dimensional problem and the modes due to theradial confinement are given by an analytical equation. We further derivean analytical expression for the current-voltage characteristic at tempera-ture approaching zero Kelvin. The relationship between the radius of thenanowire and the electrical current is clearly shown in this expression. Theeffects of the radius on the current-voltage characteristic curve are also stud-ied. Furthermore, we plot the trend of the saturation current as the radiusis increased as predicted by both the numerical result and our analyticalmodel. Our proposed model can be further used to include electron-photoninteraction in the calculation of nanoscale optoelectronic devices.
Keywords:
1. Introduction
Semiconducting nanowires are among the most promising alternatives forfuture nanoelectronics and optoelectronics [1, 2]. The diameter of fabricatednanowires is controlled by the size of the catalyst, and the length is propor-tional to growth time. Moreover, specific dopants can be incorporated into
Email address:
kurniawano@ihpc.a-star.edu.sg
(Oka Kurniawan)
Preprint submitted to Microelectronics Journal January 26, 201
 
nanowires to tune their electronic properties. Our capability to control theseproperties is essential for the development of electronic and optoelectronicnanodevices.Nanowires have been fabricated with sizes within the nanometer range.For example, silicon nanowires with 1-2 nm diameters have been fabricated[3]. Moreover, the lengths of the nanowires are predicted to shrink as well[4]. At these length scales for the nanowires, ballistic calculations predict anupper limit to the device performance. The need for theoretical modelingand calculation then becomes essential. Theoretical calculations help us todesign the properties of nanowires and to understand the physics behind themeasurement results that are obtained.In the calculation of nano-scale devices properties, the Non-equilibriumGreen’s function (NEGF) framework has been widely used [5]. By usingNEGF, the phase breaking phenomena such as electron scatterings due tophonon or photon can be included simply through its self-energy matrices.In this NEGF framework, the device region is discretized to form the Hamil-tonian matrix. The size of the matrix can be extremely huge for two- orthree-dimensional calculations. In order to increase the computational effi-ciency, a mode space approach has been proposed [6, 7]. In this approach,the wavefunctions are expanded in the mode space. As a result, the trans-port calculation can often be simplified to a one-dimensional problem alongthe transport direction [8].Even in this mode space approach, we still need to calculate the Schr¨odingerequation on every slice perpendicular to the transport direction. To simplifythe calculation, Wang
et al.
proposed a fast uncoupled method where onlyone slice is computed [9]. Perturbation theory is used to obtain the potentialat every grid along the transport direction.In this work, we further simplify the Non-equilibrium Green’s functionformulation for nanowires. We use an analytical solution to approximate thesolution of the Schrodinger equation perpendicular to the transport direction.This increases the speed significantly since the numerical calculation is nowonly required along the transport direction. The benefits that we achievefrom this simplification is faster calculation for predicting nanowire design.Our model is able to handle larger nanowire size which would take very longcomputational time when using the atomistic approach.Another necessary step for nanowire design is knowing the effects of cer-tain parameters on the transport properties. Such parameters include thediameter of the nanowires and their bandstructure. Yu
et al.
compared their2
 
Figure 1: Schematics of cylindrical nanowire. The source contact is on theleft hand side while the drain is on the right hand side.
R
and
L
is the radiusand the length of the nanowire respectively.ballistic model with experimental results for increasing values of nanowirediameter [4]. It was shown that the current increases as the radius increases.In this work we will provide a simple expression that relates the current andthe nanowire diameter under certain assumptions.It is important to note that the calculation in this paper is made fornanowires without gate electrode. We assume that the nanowire is isolatedin vacuum and hydrogenated so that the wavefunction will diminish rapidlywhen going to vacuum. Applications of these kind of nanowires for optoelec-tronic comprises solar cells and photodetectors [10, 11, 12].We will present the formulation of the Non-equilibrium Green’s Functioncalculation for the structure shown in Fig. 1. The source contact is con-nected to the left hand side of the nanowire, and the drain is connected tothe right hand side. In this work, we assume that the contacts are ohmic,and no barriers are present. For simplicity, we study only the ballistic trans-port. As mentioned previously, ballistic calculations predict an upper limitto the device performance. Incorporating phase breaking phenomena intothe calculation will be considered in future works.If we assume that the potentials in the radial direction do not vary sig-nificantly, the eigenstates are given by an analytical equation which can bereadily obtained. We will then use this simplified model to compute thecurrent-voltage characteristic and the transmission curve of the nanowire.It turns out that this simplified model gives an excellent agreement with apreviously published result.To understand the effects of the diameter size of the nanowires on the bal-listic current-voltage characteristic, we derived an analytical equation for anideal case of the nanowire shown in Fig. 1 at low temperature. The equationcan be expressed in terms of the electrochemical potential of the contactsand the radius of the nanowires. In this way, the relationship between the3

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