Characterization of InP electron-initiated impact ionization in low electric fields using abrupt junction NpN InP/GaAsSb/InP double heterojunction bipolar transistors

Lam, S.; Bolognesi, C.R.; Watkins, S.P.
December 2003
Applied Physics Letters;12/29/2003, Vol. 83 Issue 26, p5548
Academic Journal
The electron impact ionization coefficient α[sub n](E) in InP is determined from electron multiplication measurements in NpN InP/GaAsSb/InP double heterojunction bipolar transistors (DHBTs). The staggered (“type-II”) band lineup between the p[sup +] GaAs[sub 0.51]Sb[sub 0.49] base and the InP collector layer allows the injection of a pure electron initiating current directly into the InP collector across an abrupt base/collector heterojunction, without the ambiguities associated with the compositional grading otherwise required to overcome the blocking band discontinuity between Ga[sub 0.47]In[sub 0.53]As and InP. InP/GaAsSb/InP DHBTs thus enable us to characterize α[sub n](E) in InP in a low-field regime. Whereas the α[sub n](E) values we extract at higher fields are in good agreement with previously reported photodiode based measurements, our data reveal a clear low-field “tail” for α[sub n](E)<10[sup 2] cm[sup -1], indicating that InP has a soft impact ionization threshold similar to that observed for electrons in Ga[sub 0.47]In[sub 0.53]As. This finding can be understood in terms of the similarities between the conduction band structures of InP and Ga[sub 0.47]In[sub 0.53]As. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.


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