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Tunnel Diodes (Esaki Diode)

Tunnel diode is the p-n junction device that exhibits negative resistance. That means when the voltage is increased the current through it decreases.

Tunnel Diodes (Esaki Diode) Tunnel diode is the p-n junction device that exhibits negative resistance .

Regular p-n Diode

Tunnel Diode

Esaki

diodes

was

named

after

Leo

Esaki,

who

in

1973

received

the

Nobel

Prize

in

Physics

for

discovering

the

electron

tunneling

effect

used

in

these

diodes.

Esaki

reported the first paper on

tunnel

diodes

in

Physical

Review in 1958

Tunnel Diodes (Esaki Diode) Tunnel diode is the p-n junction device that exhibits negative resistance .

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Part I Tunnel Diode principles Concept of Electron Tunneling

Before contact

E C Si E V Si
E
C
Si
E
V
Si

E

  • C SiO

2

Part I Tunnel Diode principles Concept of Electron Tunneling Before contact E C Si E V

E

  • V SiO

2

E C Si E V Si
E
C
Si
E
V
Si
Si
Si
SiO
 
SiO

SiO 2

Si
Si

After contact

E

  • C SiO

 

2

C

Si

E C
E
C
 

V

Si

E

  • V SiO

2

E

V

E

E

Si

Si

Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si

Si

Si

SiO 2

SiO

Si

Si
     

continued…Concept of Electron Tunneling

For thick barrier, both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics say that the

electrons cannot cross the barrier. It can only pass the barrier if it has more energy than the barrier height.

Electron with energy greater than

… continued… Concept of Electron Tunneling • For thick barrier , both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics

E B can pass over the barrier

E=E B

… continued… Concept of Electron Tunneling • For thick barrier , both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics
… continued… Concept of Electron Tunneling • For thick barrier , both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics
 
… continued… Concept of Electron Tunneling • For thick barrier , both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics

Electron with energy less than

E B cannot pass the barrier

… continued… Concept of Electron Tunneling • For thick barrier , both Newtonian and Quantum mechanics

E=0

Si SiO Si 3
Si SiO Si 3
Si SiO Si 3
Si SiO Si 3
Si SiO Si 3
Si SiO Si 3
 

Si

SiO 2

Si

3

continued…Concept of Electron Tunneling

For thin barrier, Newtonian mechanics still says that the electrons cannot cross the barrier.

However, Quantum mechanics says that the electron wave nature will allow it to tunnel through the barrier.

 

E=E B

Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of

E=E B

   

electron

 
E=E Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of E=E electron E=0
E=E Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of E=E electron E=0
E=E Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of E=E electron E=0
E=E Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of E=E electron E=0
E=E Tunneling is caused by the wave nature of E=E electron E=0
 

E=0

 
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
 
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si
Si SiO Si Si SiO Si

Si

SiO 2

Si

Si

SiO 2

Si

Newtonian Mechanics

Quantum Mechanics

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Electron Tunneling in p-n junction

When the p and n region are highly doped, the depletion region becomes very thin

(~10nm).

In such case, there is a finite probability that electrons can tunnel from the conduction band of n-region to the valence band of p-region

During the tunneling the particle ENERGY DOES NOT CHANGE

Thick depletion layer

High doping Thin depletion layer

E C

E V

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

E C

  • E V

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

Electrons tunnel through the thin barrier

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

p

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

n

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

p

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

n

Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,
Electron Tunneling in p-n junction • When the p and n region are hi ghly doped,

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Tunnel Diode Operation

When the semiconductor is very highly doped (the doping is greater than N o ) the Fermi level goes above the conduction band for n-type and below valence band for p- type material. These are called degenerate materials.

Under Forward Bias

Step 1: At zero bias there is no current flow

E C

Tunnel Diode Operation • When the semiconductor is very high ly doped (the doping is greater

E F

E V

Tunnel Diode Operation • When the semiconductor is very high ly doped (the doping is greater

…continued…Operation of a Tunnel Diode

Step 2: A small forward bias is applied. Potential barrier is still very high – no noticeable injection and forward current through the junction.

However, electrons in the conduction band of the n region will tunnel to the empty states of the valence band in p region. This will create a forward bias tunnel current

…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Step 2: A small forward bias is applied. Potential barrier

E C

…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Step 2: A small forward bias is applied. Potential barrier
…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Step 2: A small forward bias is applied. Potential barrier

E V Direct tunneling current starts growing

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…continued…Tunnel Diode Operation

Step 3: With a larger voltage the energy of the majority of electrons in the n-region is equal to that of the empty states (holes) in the valence band of p-region; this will produce maximum tunneling current

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 3: With a larger voltage the energy of the majority of

E C

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 3: With a larger voltage the energy of the majority of
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 3: With a larger voltage the energy of the majority of
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 3: With a larger voltage the energy of the majority of

E V Maximum Direct tunneling current

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…continued…Tunnel Diode Operation

Step 4: As the forward bias continues to increase, the number of electrons in the n side that are directly opposite to the empty states in the valence band (in terms of their energy) decrease. Therefore decrease in the tunneling current will start.

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 4: As the forward bias continues to increase, the number of

E C

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 4: As the forward bias continues to increase, the number of
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 4: As the forward bias continues to increase, the number of
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 4: As the forward bias continues to increase, the number of

E V Direct tunneling current decreases

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…continued…Tunnel Diode Operation

Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops to zero. But the regular diode forward current due to electron – hole injection increases due to lower potential barrier.

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops

E C

…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops
…continued… Tunnel Diode Operation Step 5: As more forward voltage is applied, the tunneling current drops

E V No tunneling current; diffusion current starts growing

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…continued…Operation of a Tunnel Diode

Step 6: With further voltage increase, the tunnel diode I-V characteristic is similar to that of a regular p-n diode.

E C
E C
…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Step 6: With further voltage increase, the tunnel diode I-V

E V

…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Step 6: With further voltage increase, the tunnel diode I-V

…continued…Operation of a Tunnel Diode

Under Reverse Bias

In this case the, electrons in the valence band of the p side tunnel directly towards the empty states present in the conduction band of the n side creating large tunneling current which increases with the application of reverse voltage. The TD reverse I-V is similar to the Zener diode with nearly zero breakdown voltage.

E C

…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Under Reverse Bias In this case the, electrons in the

E V

…continued… Operation of a Tunnel Diode Under Reverse Bias In this case the, electrons in the

Part II Circuits with the Tunnel Diodes

I R TD NDR region V
I
R
TD
NDR region
V

Typical Tunnel Diode (TD) I-V characteristic has two distinct features:

(1) it is STRONGLY non-linear (compare to the resistor I-V). Current - Voltage relationships for TDs cannot be described using the Ohm’s law (2) it has a negative differential resistance (NDR) region

Tunnel Diode I-V

The total current I in a tunnel diode is given by

I = I

tun

+ I

diode

+ I

excess

The p-n junction current,

I

diode

I

s

exp

⎡ ⎛ ⎢ ⎜ ⎜ ⎣ ⎝
⎡ ⎛
⎢ ⎜ ⎜
⎣ ⎝

V

η V

th

⎞ ⎟ ⎟ ⎠ −
⎟ ⎟ ⎠ −

I s saturation current, η is the ideality factor and V th = kT/q

peak valley I p I v ⎤ 1 ⎥ V v ⎦ V p
peak
valley
I
p
I
v
1
V
v
V
p

Tunnel Diode I-V

The tunnel current,

  • I tun

=

V

R

0

exp

⎣ ⎢

− ⎛ ⎜ ⎜ V ⎞ ⎟ ⎟

V

0

m

⎥ ⎦

Typically, m = 1….3; V 0 = 0.1….0.5 V R 0 is the TD resistance in the ohmic region

The maximum |NDR| can be found as

|

R

d max

| =

R

0

exp

1 + m ⎞ ⎜ ⎝ ⎟

m

m

The peak voltage V p :

peak valley I p I v V v V p
peak
valley
I
p
I
v
V
v
V
p
 

1

1 m
1
m

V

p

= ⎝ ⎜ m ⎠ ⎟

   
 

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Tunnel Diode I-V

The excess current,

I

excess

=

V

R

v

exp

⎡ ⎢ ⎛ ⎜ ⎜ V ⎣ ⎝
⎡ ⎢ ⎛ ⎜ ⎜ V
⎣ ⎝

V

v

V

ex

⎞ ⎤ ⎟ ⎟ ⎥ ⎠ ⎦
⎞ ⎤
⎟ ⎟ ⎥
⎠ ⎦

I excess is an additional tunneling current related to parasitic tunneling via impurities.

This current usually determines the minimum (valley) current, I v

R v and V ex are the empirical parameters; in high-quality diodes,

R v >> R 0 . V ex = 1…

..

5 V

peak valley I p I v V v V p
peak
valley
I
p
I
v
V
v
V
p

NDR of the Tunnel Diode

NDR of the Tunnel Diode Tunnel Diode differential resistance is NEGATIVE in the voltage range 100

Tunnel Diode differential resistance is

NEGATIVE in the voltage range 100 mV – 200 mV

Energy dissipation in resistors and Energy generation in Negative Resistors

R + V - S
R
+
V
-
S

Power = Voltage x Current = I 2 R

If current direction is from “-” toward “+”, then R =V/I is negative;

For R<0, P <0,

Positive power means energy dissipation (e.g. conversion into the Joule heat);

Negative power corresponds to the power GENERATION (Energy supply);

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Differential resistance and negative differential resistance

Static resistance:

R = V/I

  • I R

Differential resistance and negative differential resistance Static resistance: R = V/I I R I V V

I

  • V V

Differential resistance: I R ΔI α
Differential resistance:
I
R
ΔI
α

ΔV

R =

d

V

I

Δ

V

Δ

I

R =

d

cot(

α

)

V

For linear (“Ohmic”) components, R = R d .

For many semiconductor devices, R R d :

I α I V
I
α
I
V

R d < R

V

Diode (forward bias)

I α I R d << R
I
α
I
R d << R

I

α 2

α 1
α 1
Differential resistance and negative differential resistance Static resistance: R = V/I I R I V V
  • V R d2 < 0

V

Zener Diode (reverse bias)

TD

  • α 3

V

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Transients in Negative Differential Resistance Circuits

R

V S
V
S

C

After turning the switch ON:

i

( ) =

i t

R > 0 t
R > 0
t
  • V S

×e

R

-t/(RC) i
-t/(RC)
i

R < 0

t

Tunnel Diode as a microwave oscillator

Tunnel diode

C d

R d R L R u s
R d
R L
R
u s
~
~

Microwave cavity

(LC- resonance circuit)

Load resistance is chosen so that R L < |R d | in the NDR region

Tunnel Diode as a microwave oscillator Tunnel diode d R d R L R u s

At the TD operating point, the total circuit differential resistance is negative

Tunnel Diode as a microwave oscillator

Transient in resonant cavity after turning the bias voltage ON

1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0123456789 -0.2 -0.4 -0.6 -0.8 R d >0 or R
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0123456789
-0.2
-0.4
-0.6
-0.8
R d >0 or
R d <0 and R L > |R d |
-1
0123456789 R d <0 and R L < |R d | 5 4 3 2 1
0123456789
R d <0 and R L < |R d |
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
-3
-4
-5
-6

22

C d LC R d ~ R L R u s
C d
LC
R d
~
R L
R
u s

The resonant circuit with NDR can oscillate. Maximum frequency of the TD-oscillator is limited by the characteristic tunneling time:

f MAX (1/2π) (1/τ tun)

Tunneling time in TDs is extremely small: << 1 ps F MAX > 100 GHz

Tunnel Diode microwave oscillators

Tunnel Diode microwave oscillators After: M. Reddy et.al, IEEE ELECTRON DEVICE LETTERS, VOL. 18, NO. 5,
Tunnel Diode microwave oscillators After: M. Reddy et.al, IEEE ELECTRON DEVICE LETTERS, VOL. 18, NO. 5,
Tunnel Diode microwave oscillators After: M. Reddy et.al, IEEE ELECTRON DEVICE LETTERS, VOL. 18, NO. 5,

After: M. Reddy et.al,

IEEE ELECTRON DEVICE LETTERS, VOL. 18, NO. 5, MAY 1997

~ 600 GHz oscillation frequencies has been achieved.

Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique

V

s

=

V

d

+

IR

I

= −

V

d

R

+

V

s

R

Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique V s = V d + IR ⇒ I =

V

s

  • V d

Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique V s = V d + IR ⇒ I =

R

y = mx + c

Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique V s = V d + IR ⇒ I =
y ⎛ V s ⎞ ⎜ ⎟ R ⎝ ⎠
y
V s
R
1 slope = − X − axis intercept, V R s V Y axis − intercept,
1
slope = −
X − axis
intercept,
V
R
s
V
Y axis
intercept,
c
=
s
R
1
Slope, m = −
R
V s
V
s

x

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Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique

V

s

= V IR

d

I =

⎜ ⎛

R 1 ⎞ ⎟ ⎠ V

d

+ ⎛ ⎜ ⎝ V R

s

In the load line equation, I is the resistor current when the voltage across the diode is V d

On the other hand, when the voltage across the diode is V d , the diode current is given by the diode I-V curve

For example, when the diode voltage is V d1 the diode current is I d1

However, in this circuit, I d must be equal

  • I R . Hence the actual operating point is given by the load line – I-V intercept.

V

s

  • V d

Nonlinear Circuit Analysis: Load Line technique V s = V +× IR d I = ⎜

R

I

d1

I ⎛ V s ⎞ ⎜ ⎟ R ⎝ ⎠ 1 slope = − R Diode
I
V s
R
1
slope = −
R
Diode
I-V
V
d1
V s
V
s

V

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Load Line : example

  • V d

V d =0.78V R
V
d =0.78V
R
  • V s

2V

I d =2.4 mA

500Ω

I d =2.4 mA

V axis intercept, V s = 2 V

I axis intercept, (V s /R) = 4 mA

Load Line : example d V d =0.78V R s I =2.4 mA 500 Ω I
  • V d =0.78V

Load Line : another example

  • V d

V d =0.76V R
V
d =0.76V
R
  • V s

2.5V

I d =1.4 mA

1250Ω

V axis intercept, V s = 2.5 V

I axis intercept, (V s /R) = 2 mA

I d =1.4 mA

Load Line : another example d V d =0.76V R s I =1.4 mA 1250 Ω
  • V d =0.76V

continued… Load Line (Variation of R)

  • V d

R
R
  • V s

2.0V

R= 500Ω
R= 500Ω
R= 750Ω
R= 750Ω

R= 1000Ω

R= 1000 Ω 28

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continued… Load Line (Variation of V s )

  • V d

R
R
  • V s

1000Ω

V s = 1V
V s = 1V
V =2V s
V
=2V
s
V s =3V
V s =3V

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Circuit with the Tunnel Diode and Resistor

8 I, mA 3 6 4 2
8
I, mA
3
6
4
2

2

Circuit with the Tunnel Diode and Resistor 8 I, mA 3 6 4 2 2 4

4

TD

1
1

V, V

0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
0.1
0.2 0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
V d V s R
V
d
V
s
R

Example 1: V s = 0.7 V; R = 100 Ω;

⇒ Ι max = 0.7V/100 Ω = 7 mA

The circuit has three possible operating points. Point 2 is typically unstable (depending on parasitic L and C components. The circuit will operate at the point 1 or point 3 depending on the history.

Example 2: V s = 0.3 V; R 10 Ω;

⇒ Ι max 30 mA

The circuit has only one operating point - point 4. The total differential resistance is NEGATIVE (because R < |R d |). Depending on the L and C components, the circuit can be stable (amplifier) or unstable (oscillator)

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