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1 Ideal junction characteristics
The shottky-barrier diode is formed by a metal contact (anode) to a semiconductor (the cathode), instead of the more common junction between P- and N-type semiconductors. Shottky diodes differ from PN-junction devices in that rectification occurs because of differ in work function between the metal contact and the semiconductor, rather a nonuniform doping profile. Conduction is not controlled by minority carrier recombination in the semiconductor, but by thermionic emission of majority carriers over the barrier created by the unequal work functions. The Schottky diode is, therefore, a majority carrier device whose switching speed is not limited by minority carrier effects. Many metals can create a Shottky barrier on either silicon or GaAs semiconductors. For GaAs the most common are platinum, titanium and gold.
Band structure of the metal and semiconductor before contact. E0 is the free-space energy level, EC is the bottom of the conduction band, and Ev is on the top of the valence band. Efm and Efs are the Fermi levels in the metal and semiconductor, respectively.
Figure 1 shows the energy band diagrams of a metal and an N-type semiconductors. The difference between the Fermi level Ef for each material and the free-space energy level E0 is the work function , qφm or qφs ,where q is the electron charge . The work function is, therefore, the average energy required to remove an electron from the material .The electron affinity, qX , is the energy required to free space. X is a constant for each material, and must remain constant
than these in the semiconductor. since it is almost completely depleted of mobile electrons. The shape of the energy diagram of the metal-semiconductor junction is governed by three rules: 1. In order to satisfy all three rules simultaneously. The positively charged region is called a depletion region. the energy levels are constant throughout the materials . the Fermi levels for the semiconductor and metal must be constant throughout the system. These leave behind ionized donor locations.The Fermi levels are generally unequal. and hence its work function. can be expected to vary with doping density. on the average. 2. some of the electrons in the semiconductor move spontaneously into the metal and collect on the surface. The free-space energy level must be continuous. indicating that the electrons in one material (in this case the metal) have less energy. The electron affinity must be constant. Fig. which are positively charged.throughout it. when the materials are joined. (c) electric field in the depletion region. the valence and . When the metal and semiconductor are in equilibrium and are not in contact.2 (a)Band structure of the Shottky junction. Figure 2a shows the resulting band structure when the metal and semiconductor are joined. Therefore. An electric field is set up between these positive charges and the electrons that eventually inhibits further electron flow into the metal. and create a negative surface charge where they collect on the surface of the metal. the Fermi level of the semiconductor. (b) charge densities at the junction (the negative component is the surface electron concentration on the metal). In equilibrium. However. 3.
(1) (2) dE(x) / dx = ρ(x) / εs = qNd / εs E(x) = Emax(1-x/d) where (3) F=-qNdd/εs Emax . it is easily integrated to give (4) φbi = Emax d/2 = qd2 Nd / 2εs The resulting depletion width d. must equal φbi. The resulting potential difference across this region. In fact.φs.maximum electric field d. but it effect is negligible for most purposes. which is equal to the depletion zone charge. known. is simply the difference between the work function. Since E (x) is a simple triangle function.9∗ ε0 for silicon -14 ε0 =8. is 2 φbi εs / q Nd (5) d= . Applying the Gauss law in one dimension. the upward bend of the conduction band of the N-type semiconductor indicates depletion region. it is equal to the doping density. The junction area is. one "plate " of the capacitor. can be considered to be an area of stored charge. all of which are ionized. The depletion zone charge density to known: because the depletion zone charge is due to donor atoms. the other "plate ". Indeed charge has been moved onto the metal contact. as evidenced by the flat band at this point. the voltage across the junction.. a narrow transition region does exist.doping density (assumed uniform) εs -dielectric permittivity of the semiconductor εs -=13. i. The positively charge depletion region in the semiconductor. and that it is maximum at the junction. as shown in the figure. by the application of the built-in potential difference. This assumption is called the depletion approximation. and off the semiconductor.e. it is necessary to find the quality of charge that has been moved. because E=-dφ/dx=0.1∗ ε0 for GaAs εs -=11.conduction bands of the semiconductor are forced to bend at the junction. but the width of depletion zone still must be found be found in order to determine the total charge. Secondly. It should be obvious that the electric field is in the negative x direction (fig2). of course.depletion width Nd. It must also be zero at the edge of the depletion region. there is no gradual variation in charge density between the depletion region and undepleted semiconductor. Before it is possible to determine the capacitance. The electric field in the depletion zone is found by applying the Gauss law to the region. This is called the built-in potential of the junction.854∗ 10 F cm-1 An assumption used in deriving (1) to (3) is that the edge of the depletion region is abrupt. found by integrating the electric field. φbi = φm .
QJ . and charge QJ are still valid for the biased diode as long as the potential φbi -V. (b) reverse bias. The voltage across the junction then is φbi -V. 2 Ideal I/V characteristic and junction capacitance Fig. where V is the applied voltage. where V is defined as positive with polarity that forward-biased the junction. the Fermi levels (which should rightly be called quasi-Fermi levels for the nonequilibrium case).3 Fig. the resulting expressions for charge and depletion width are as follows: (7) (8) QJ = W d= 2q es Nd(φbi -V) 2 es (φbi -V) / q Nd .3 biased Schottky junction: (a) forward bias. maximum electric field Emax . which are known. depletion region d. Since biased is applied.The charge contained in the depletion region is found from the donor density and the dimensions of the region. move with applied voltage. The depletion charge. is (6) QJ = qWd Nd = W 2q φbi es Nd where W is the area of junction. the junction is no longer in equilibrium. Instead. and the requirement that the Fermi levels be constant throughout the diode no longer applies. The offset from their equilibrium position is simply equal to qV. The expression for electric field E (x). Figure 3 shows a biased Schottky junction. This relates directly to the junction capacitance. The Fermi levels are offset by an amount to the applied voltage.
the junction capacitance is found: (9) d QJ /dV = C(V) = W q es Nd /2(φbi -V) = Wes/d This can be put into the form (10) C(V) = CJ0/(1-Vφbi)1/2 which is most useful for circuit analysis. This emission occurs equally in the both directions in equilibrium.25. can be found from the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. the capacitance of which has relatively weak dependence on voltage. When forward bias is applied. called the slope parameter or ideality factor. at zero bias. Nd may not be uniform. (13) I(V)= I0 [exp(qV/KT) -1] Equation (13) is called the ideal diode equation. usually between 1. Calculation of the current parameter I0 is much more complicated task. In order to compensate for nonideal behavior. which give the same general voltage dependence. The following derivation is simple and intuitively satisfying. an ideal expression for I0 can be found by assuming that all current conduction is by thermionic emission. CJ0 is the junction capacitance at zero bias voltage.37∗ 10-23 J/K) and T is absolute temperature. and must be proportional to this electron density. The electron density at junction. allowing increased electron emission from the semiconductor into the metal. The current component in the opposite direction stays constant.0. The current in each direction is equal.One of the most dramatic examples of this is the Mott diode. since I0 can be dominated by second-order effects such as leakage charge generation . the potential barrier becomes φbi-V.The capacitance of charge with junction voltage. electron energy is increased relative to the barrier height. thus changing the exponent . It is given by . and therefore the density of forward-conducted electrons is (12) n2 = Nd exp[-q(φbi-V )/KT] where K is Boltzmann's constant (1. Electron conduction occurs primarily by thermionic emission over the barrier. it is usually modified to form (14) I(V)= I0 [exp(qV/nKT) -1] Where n is a number close to 1. In practice. It is given by (11) n1 = Nd exp(-qφbi /KT) under zero bias conditions. and tunneling. and probably futile . Taking this derivative. Under bias.05 and 1. Nevertheless. The junction can be found by several methods. The current is proportional to the difference between these densities. giving no net current. n1 . The exponent 1/2 in the denominator of (10) comes from the assumption that the doping density Nd is constant throughout the semiconductor.
rather than the constant value implied by (14). Deviations from ideal behavior arise from imperfections in fabrication or factors. At forward biases above approximately 0.φfc . A ** is approximately 96 A cm-2 K -2 for silicon 4.(15) I0 = A ** T2 Wexp(-qφbi /KT) where A ** is the modified Richardson constant. this quantity rarely dominates the ideality factor. This force attracts the electrons toward the metal surface. effectively lowering the barrier. which are not included in this relatively simple theory. the ideality factor is (16) n = 1/(1-dφbi /dV) where dφbi /dV is the variation in barrier height with applied voltage. and φbi is the barrier height (difference between the Fermi level and the peak of the conduction band). because carrier generation in the depletion region at high reverse bias and tunneling effects dominate reverse leakage. For a diode that is ideal expect for barrier lowering. The low value of thee Richardson constant for GaAs implies that the knee of the I/V characteristic occurs at higher applied voltages for GaAs diodes. the effect is to cause the ideality factor n to deviate slightly from unity.1 V.4 A cm-2 K -2 for GaAs. this "image force" should give the reverse current a fourth-power dependence of bias upon voltage. (17) dφb dV 1 q 3 Nd 4 8π2 εs3 φbi . the barrier height varies with applied voltage because conduction electrons experience a force from their image charges in the metal. and allowing voltage-dependent deviations from ideal behavior. In theory. The relation for this quantity is. n is only 1. 1. for Nd = 1017 cm-3 .V. W is the junction area.02. 2. In fact. Surface Imperfections .Schottky Barrier Lowering It was assumed that the Schottky barrier height remained constant under all conditions of applied voltage. A few of the major limitations are given below. As for the reverse case. This effect is usually not observed.KT q -3/4 where φfc is the potential difference between the Fermi level and bottom of the conduction band. 3 Deviations from the Ideal Case Real Schottky diodes do not always follow the expressions derived before.
which can be used. high-resistance expitaxial material under the junction. 3.Tunneling Thermal emission is not only mechanism by which electrons can cross the potential barrier at the junction.The semiconductor surface must be extremely clean in order to realize I/V characteristics approximately the ideal. attaching to a circuit. especially if the diode is subjected to high temperatures. The deposition of the junction metal may also damage the crystal structure of the surface. Series resistance often creates a lower limit to the diode size. . especially in millimeter-wave mixers. The remaining bulk resistance of the substrate and its ohmic contact. Tunneling is often responsible for "soft" I/V characteristics (i. even at high reverse bias. Practical diodes are. It is of particular significance in devices designed for cryogenic operation because. may leave several ohms of resistance in series with the junction. there may be 500-1500 angstroms of undepleted. but series resistance usually limits practical sizes to 1. For example. as temperatures are lowered. thin epitaxial layer that is grown on a heavily doped. At forward bias. the current component due to tunneling does not decrease as rapidly as the thermionic component. or as innocent bystanders when other components soldered into the mixer.5-2. Quantum mechanical tunneling through the barrier is also possible.e. however. which are often substantial. as well as the undepleted epitaxial area. high n) at low currents. in spite of scrupulous care in fabrication.Series Resistance Schottky junctions generally require lightly doped semiconductors with relatively high bulk resistivities. The resistance creates power losses. they are frequently exposed to high temperatures as part of the fabrication process. Formation of undesired chemical compounds between the junction metal and the semiconductors may also occur. 4. the depletion depth at zero applied voltage is approximately 750 angstroms. This structure allows the lightly doped region to be used for the junction and the heavily doped region to minimize series resistance. A lightly doped substrate would not be practical for diode fabrication because it would result in high series resistance and poor ohmic cathode contacts. The effect is to increase both the ideality factor and. This requires an epitaxial thickness of 1000-2000 angstroms to contain the depletion layer at 5-6 V reverse bias. Tunneling also increases the noise temperature of the diode. such as annealing to repair sputtering damage. where the junction area is very small. Although diodes are rarely exposed to high temperatures in use. therefore fabricated on a lightly doped. the junction experiences at least a small amount of contamination due to impurities. A high-quality ohmic contact can be made to this heavily doped substrate. Surface imperfections are probably the major cause of nonideal behavior in Schottky diodes. for a diode with an epitaxial doping density of 2X1017 . especially if sputtering techniques are used. The undepleted epitaxial layer may still contribute to series resistance (Rs) because the epitaxial layer must be made thick enough to contain the depletion region. low resistance substrate. in some cases. and may have a significant effect on I/V characteristic at low temperatures and high doping densities. sub-micron diameter diodes can be fabricated with present technology. reverse conduction.. However.0µm.
at high frequencies. The sidewall resistance is given by .It is difficult to describe a general procedure for estimating series resistance. Therefore.d)/qNd µa 2 where t is the epitaxial layer thickness. the current exists primarily in the substrate. rather than in its bulk. The spreading resistance component is found by first approximating the chip as a cylinder with the anode in the center. The current flows from the anode through the expitaxial layer. and the resistance of the edges. The current path is shown in figure (4). Fig. at frequencies. above approximately 50 GHz. the series resistance consists of three components: the undepleted epitaxial layer under the junction. The resistance of the epitaxial layer is that of a cylinder of material: (18) R d1 = (t . and δ is the skin depth in the substrate material. there is little current spreading in the epitaxial layer. the series resistance of a dot-matrix diode at high frequencies is estimated by first determining the current path in the chip. and is approximately (19) R d2 = ln(b/a)/2πδqNd µ where a is the anode diameter. It then flows down the sides of the chip to the mounting surface. Estimation is further complicated by the fact that the skin effect causes the diode current to exist in the surface of the substrate. Because the substrate resistivity is much lower then that of the epitaxial layer. Because it is thin compared to the diode diameter. the whisker or other connecting wire may have several ohms of series resistance due to the skin effect.4 Current distribution in the dot-matrix diode. d is the depletion width. b is the diameter of the chip ( which can be approximated as a side length for the more common square chip ). because it is strongly dependent on diode structure. For example. and spreads out because of the skin effect along the top surface of the chip to its edge. Similarly. and µ is the electron mobility. the spreading resistance of the top side of the diode between the anode and the sides of the chip.
Diode series resistance specified by manufacturers invariably the do value. R d2 and R d3 are the bulk do resistance of the substrate. This estimate for R d3 may be low because mechanical damage or roughness of the side of the chip increases R d3 . which is negligible compared to R d1 . As a periphery than its area. without skin effect. therefore. small diodes are sometimes fabricated with metal geometries. so the fringing electric field near the edge of the metal anode is greater then that in the center. However. The high-frequency series resistance is the sum of the three components: ( 21) R s = R d1 + R d2 + R d3 Of course. which increase the periphery to reduce series resistance. greatest at the edge of the junction. and may be relatively low at the center. 5. such as a cross shape. practical diodes are formed with a small anode on a large semiconductor surface.(20) R d3 = h/4πbδqNd where h is the chip height and w is the side width. the series resistance measured at do includes only R d1 . The current density is. and to reduce the area in order to minimize capacitance. For this reason.Edge Effects The expressions in section 2 all assume that the electric field is perpendicular to the junction over its entire area. .
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