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**19 (2008) 33–42 Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics
**

Quantum Size Eﬀect of Two Couple Quantum Dots

Gihan H. Zaki

(1)∗

, Adel H. Phillips

(2)

and Ayman S. Atallah

(3)

(1)

Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt

(2)

Faculty of Engineering, Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

(3)

Faculty of Science, Beni- Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt

Received 18 February 2008, Accepted 16 August 2008, Published 10 October 2008

Abstract: The quantum transport characteristics are studied for double quantum dots

encountered by quantum point contacts. An expression for the conductance is derived using

Landauer - Buttiker formula. A numerical calculation shows the following features: (i) Two

resonance peaks appear for the dependence of normalized conductance, G, on the bias voltage,

V

0

, for a certain value of the inter barrier thickness between the dots. As this barrier thickness

increases the separation between the peaks decreases. (ii) For the dependence of, G, on, Vo,

the peak heights decrease as the outer barrier thickness increases. (iii) The conductance, G,

decreases as the temperature increases and the calculated activation energy of the electron

increases as the dimension, b, increases. Our results were found concordant with those in the

literature.

c Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Quantum Dots; Landauer - Buttiker Formula

PACS (2008): 73.21.La; 68.65.Hb; 61.46.Df

1. Introduction

Interest in low dimensional quantum conﬁned structures has been fueled by the richness

of fundamental phenomena therein and the potential device applications [1-4]. In partic-

ular, ideal quantum dots can provide three-dimensional carrier conﬁnement and resulting

discrete states for electrons and holes [5]. Interesting electronic properties related to the

transport of carriers through the bound states and the trapping of quasi-particles can

be used to realize a new class of devices such as the single electron transistor, multilevel

logic element, memory element, etc. [6-8]. Because of its high switching speed, low power

consumption, and reduced complexity to implement a given function, resonant tunneling

∗

ghnzaki@yahoo.com

34 Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42

diodes (RTDs) have candidates for digital circuit application [9]. Quantum dots can be

built as single-electron transistors [10], a charge Quantum bit and double quantum charge

qubit [11, 12]. They can serve as artiﬁcial atoms (quantum dots) and artiﬁcial molecules

(coupled quantum dots) [13-15]. In parallel to technological eﬀorts aimed toward search-

ing compact circuit architecture, great deal of attention has been dedicated to model and

simulate RTDs [16-18], as a way to optimize device design and fabrication [19] and also

to understand mesoscopic transport properties of these devices. In the present paper, it

is desired to investigate the quantum size eﬀect on the electron transport of mesoscopic

devices whose dimensions are less than the mean free path of electrons. Such a device will

be modeled as two series-coupled quantum dots based semiconductor - heterostructure

separated by an inner barrier of width, c. These quantum dots are coupled weakly to two

conducting leads via quantum point contact. As we shall see from the treatment of this

model, that such device will operate as a resonant tunneling device.

2. The Model

The resonant tunneling device could be constructed as two series coupled quantum dots,

each of diameter, a, and separated by an inner barrier of width, c. Also, these quantum

dots are separated from two leads by outer tunnel barriers from the corresponding sides,

each of width, b. Electron transport through these quantum dots could be aﬀected by

the phenomenon of Coulomb blockade [20]. An expression for the conductance, G, of the

present device could be derived using Landauer- Buttiker formula [21]:

G =

4e

2

h

_

dE |Γ(E)|

·

(−

∂f

∂E

) sin φ (1)

Where Γ (E) is the tunneling probability, φ is the phase angle of the tunneled electrons,

h is Planck’s constant and e is the electron charge. The derivative of the Fermi-Dirac

distribution is given by:

−

∂f

∂E

= (4k

B

T)

−1

cosh

−2

_

(E −E

F

)

2k

B

T

_

(2)

Where E

F

is the Fermi Energy, k

B

is Boltzmann’s constant and T is the absolute tem-

perature. The tunneling probability, Γ (E) of electrons through such device could be

determined by using the method of a transfer matrix [22] as follows: The Schr¨ odinger

equation describing electron transport in the j

th

region is given by [21]:

−

2

2m

∗

d

2

ψ

j

dx

2

+

_

V

j

+

e

2

N

2

4C

_

ψ

j

= Eψ

j

(3)

Where m* is the eﬀective mass of the electron, V

j

is the potential energy of the j

th

region, e

2

N

2

/4C is the charging energy of each quantum dot [18,20,21], in which C is

its capacitance and N is the number of electrons entering each quantum dot. The eigen-

functions ψ

j

(x) in the j

th

region corresponding to the Schr¨ odinger equation (3) is expressed

as [18, 21, and 23]:

Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42 35

ψ

j

(x) = A

j

exp(ik

j

.x) +B

j

exp(−ik

j

.x) (4)

Where:

k

j

=

[2m

∗

(E −V

j

−e

2

N

2

/4C)]

1/2

(5)

is Planck’s constant divided by 2π. The coeﬃcients A

j

and B

j

are determined by

matching the wave functions ψ

j

and their ﬁrst derivatives at the subsequent interface.

Now, using the transfer matrix, we get the coeﬃcients A

j

and B

j

as:

_

_

_

A

l

B

l

_

_

_

=

j=1

R

j

_

_

_

A

r

B

r

_

_

_

(6)

Where the notations (l, r) denote left and, right regions. In Eq. (6), the coeﬃcients

R

j

in the j

th

region is given by:

R

j

=

1

2k

j

_

_

_

(k

j

+k

j+1

) exp[i(k

j+1

−k

j

)x

j

]

(k

j

−k

j+1

) exp[i(k

j+1

+k

j

)x

j

]

(k

j

−k

j+1

) exp[i(k

j+1

+k

j

)x

j

]

(k

j

+k

j+1

) exp[i(k

j+1

−k

j

)x

j

]

_

_

_

(7)

According to the present model of the device, the corresponding wave vectors in the

regions where the barriers exist are given by:

κ =

_

2m

∗

_

V

o

+V

b

+

e

2

N

2

4C

__

1/2

(8)

Where, V

b

is the barrier height. And also, the wave vectors in the quantum dots are

expressed as:

κ =

[2m

∗

E]

1/2

(9)

Now, the tunneling probability, Γ (E), is given by solving Eq. (6) [22] and we get:

Γ(E) =

1

1 +A

2

B

2

(10)

Where:

A =

_

V

o

+V

b

+

e

2

N

2

4C

_

· sinh (κb)

_

E

_

V

o

+V

b

+

e

2

N

2

4C

_

−E

_

1/2

(11)

and

B = D

1

D

2

−

sinh (κ(2b −c))

sinh (κb)

(12)

in which the expression for D

1

and D

2

are:

D

1

= 2 cosh (κb) . cos (ka) −

_

2E −V

o

−V

b

−

e

2

N

2

4C

_

sinh (κb) sin (ka)

_

E

_

V

o

+V

b

+

e

2

N

2

4C

−E

__

1/2

(13)

36 Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42

and

D

2

= 2 cosh (κc) cos (ka) −

_

2E −V

o

−V

b

−

e

2

N

2

4C

_

sinh (κc) sin (ka)

_

E

_

V

o

+V

b

+

e

2

N

2

4C

−E

__

1/2

(14)

Now, by substituting Eq. (10) for the tunneling probability, Γ (E), into Eq. (1),

taking into consideration eqs. (11-14), and performing the integration numerically( using

Mathemtica-4), one can calculate the conductance.

3. Numerical Calculation and Discussion

In order to show that the present mesoscopic junction operates as a resonant tunneling

device, we perform a numerical calculation of the tunneling probability Γ (E) (Eq.10).

1- Figure 1 shows the variation of the tunneling probability Γ (E), with the bias voltage,

V

o

, in energy units (eV) which have two main resonant peaks at certain values of V

o

.

voltage. These main peaks are due to the sequential resonant tunneling of the electron

from the ground state of the 1

st

quantum dot to the 1

st

and the 2

nd

excited states of the

adjacent quantum dot. It is noticed from ﬁgure (1) that the tunneling probability has

diﬀerent behaviors when the dimensions of the device [c, b, and a] are varied as follows:

i) The peak separation decreases as the inter barrier width, c, increases and at certain

value of c, we have only one peak, (see ﬁg. 1-a).

ii) The resonant peak heights decrease as the outer tunnel barrier width, b, increases

without any shift in peak position (see ﬁg. 1-b).

iii) The peak heights decrease with an observable shift in peak positions to higher

bias voltages as the diameter of the quantum dot, a, increases (see ﬁg. 1-c). Behavior of

the tunneling probability, Γ (E), has been observed by other authors [16, 24].

2-a: Fig. 2 Shows the variation of the normalized conductance with the bias voltage,

Vo, measured at diﬀerent values of the inner barrier width between the two quantum

dots, c. It is noticed from the ﬁgure that the peaks separation decreases as the barrier

width, c, increases. At a certain value of, c, the two peaks becomes one. This may be

attributed to the decrease in the degree of splitting of the conductance-energy state as

the inner barrier width, c, increases and at a certain value of, c, the presented double

quantum dot system becomes a system of two isolated quantum dots rather than coupled

or superlattice system [25]. The same behavior is also noticed for the dependence of the

conductance on the diameter of the dot, a, calculated at diﬀerent values of the parameter,

c.

b: The dependence of the conductance, G, on the bias voltage, V

o

, at diﬀerent values

of the outer barrier width, b, between the reservoirs and the quantum dots is shown in

ﬁg. 3. No shift for the peak positions occurs, but the peak heights decrease as the value

of the barrier width, b, increases. A similar behavior is also noticed for the dependence of

the conductance on the diameter of the quantum dot, a, for diﬀerent values of the outer

barrier width, b.

c: The dependence of the normalized conductance, G, on the bias voltage, Vo, cal-

Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42 37

culated at diﬀerent values of the diameter, a, is shown in ﬁg. 4. It’s noticed that the

peak height is decreased as the diameter of the dot increases due to the coulomb blockade

eﬀect. Also, the peak heights shift to higher bias voltage as the diameter of the quantum

dot increases. This behavior is concordant to that of the tunneling probability.

3: The dependence of the conductance, G, on the temperature, T, measured at

diﬀerent values of the barrier width, b, is shown in ﬁg. 5. The conductance, G, decreases

as the temperature increases. This agrees well with those published in literatures [26,

27, 28, and 29]. Also, the variation of, Ln G, versus, 1/T, is plotted in ﬁg. 6. By

using the Arrhenious relation [G = G

o

exp (-E / k

B.

T)], the activation energy of the

electron is calculated and arranged in table 1. It’s observed that the activation energy

of the electron increases as the value of the dimension, b, increases. This increase in the

activation energy is to overcome the increase in the resistance of the presented double

quantum dot system as the value of, b, increases.

Table 1:

The activation energy of

the electron (meV)

The value of b

(nm)

0.314 1.0

0.385 1.10

0.405 1.15

0.410 1.20

It is seen from the results that the transmission spectrum is Lorentzian in shape for

such present junction with multiple barrier structure. The features of conﬁning eﬀects at

resonance levels are seen from our results. The dependence of the resonant level width

on various parameters such as the quantum dot diameter and the two barrier width b,

and c, are shown from our results which show the coupling eﬀect between quantum dots.

Our results are found concordant with those in the literature [30-32].

Conclusion

In this paper, we derived a formula for the conductance of two coupled quantum dots

and analyzing its characteristic on the bias voltage, the barrier widths b, and c. We

conclude from our results that this device operates as resonant tunneling device in the

mesoscopic regime. Such quantum coherent electron device is promising for future high-

speed nanodevices.

References

[1] T.Y.Marzin, et-al, Phys. Rev. Lett. 73 (1994) 716.

[2] S. Raymond, et-al., Phys. Rev. B54 (1996) 154.

38 Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42

[3] M. Grundmann, et-al., Appl.Phys. Lett. 68 (1996) 979.

[4] H. Jiang et-al., Phys. Rev.B56 (1997) 4696.

[5] M. Rontani, et-al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 72 (1998) 957.

[6] M. A. Kastner, Rev. Mod. Phys. 64 (1992) 849.

[7] K. Nakazato, et-al., Electron. Lett. 29 (1992) 384.

[8] S. Tiwari, et-al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 69 (1996) 1232.

[9] P. Mazumder, et-al, Proc. IEEE 86 (1998) 664.

[10] Gergley Zarond at al., arxiv: cond-mat / 0607255V2 (18 Oct2006).

[11] Xiufeng Cao and Hang Zheng, arxiv: cond-mat / 0701581V1 (24 Jan2007).

[12] J. Gorman et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 95 (2005) 090502.

[13] S. Sasaki et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 93, 017205 (2004).

[14] P. Jarillo-Herreror et al., Nature 434, 484 (2005).

[15] A. Kogan et al., Phys. Rev. B, 67 (2003) 113309.

[16] L. Yang, et-al., J. Appl. Phys. 68 (1990) 2997.

[17] J. Sune, et-al. Microelectron. Eng. 36 (1997) 125.

[18] A. A. Awadalla, A.M.Hegazy, Adel H. Philips and R. Kamel, Egypt. J. Phys. 31

(2000) 289.

[19] J. S. Sun, et-al., Proc. IEEE 86(1998)641.

[20] U. Meirav, et-al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 65 (1990)771.

[21] Y. Imry, Introduction to mesoscopic physics (Oxford University, New York, 1997).

[22] H. Kroemer, Quantum Mechanics, (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliﬀs, New Jersey,

07632 (1994)).

[23] C.W.J. Beenakker, in : Mesoscopic physics, eds. E. Ackermann’s, G. Montambais

and J. L. Pickard (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1994).

[24] R. Ugajin, Appl. Phys. Lett. 68 (1996) 2657.

[25] D. K. Ferry and S. M. Goodnick in ”Transport in Nanostructures” Cambridge

University ﬁrst edition 1997.

[26] Arafa H. Aly, Adel H. Phillips and R. Kamel, Egypt J. Physics, 30 (1999) 32.

[27] W.M. Van Huﬄen, T. M.Klapwijk, D.R.Heslinga, Phys.Rev. B, 47 (1993) 5170.

[28] Aziz N. Mina, Adel H. Phillips, F. Shahin and N.S. Adel-Gwad, Physica C 341-

348(2000).

[29] J. M. Kinaret, Physica B, 189 (1993) 142.

[30] H. Yamamoto, et-al, Appl. Phys. A50 (1990) 577.

[31] H.Yamamoto, et-al, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 34 (1995) 4529.

[32] Y. C. Kang, et-al. Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 34(1995)4417.

Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42 39

Fig. 1 The variation of the tunneling probability Γ(E), with the bias voltage V

o

(eV) at:

a) diﬀerent values of the inner barrier, c. b) diﬀerent values of the outer barrier, b. c) diﬀerent

values of the diameter, a.

Fig. 2 The variation of the normalized conductance with the bias voltage, V

o

(eV), at diﬀerent

values of the inner barrier width between the two dots, c.

40 Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42

Fig. 3 The variation of the normalized conductance with the bias voltage, V

o

(eV), at diﬀerent

values of the outer barrier width, b.

Fig. 4 The variation of the normalized conductance with the bias voltage calculated for diﬀerent

values of the diameter of the quantum, a.

Fig. 5 The variation of the normalized conductance with the absolute temperature (K

o

) at

diﬀerent values of the outer barrier width, b.

Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 5, No. 19 (2008) 33–42 41

Fig. 6 The variation of the logarithm of the normalized conductance, Ln G, with the reciprocal

of the absolute temperature, 1/T, at diﬀerent values of the outer barrier width, b.

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