Observation of a negative differential resistance due to tunneling through a single barrier into a quantum well

Morkoç, H.; Chen, J.; Reddy, U. K.; Henderson, T.; Luryi, S.
July 1986
Applied Physics Letters;7/14/1986, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p70
Academic Journal
We have observed a negative differential resistance (NDR) in a single-barrier tunneling structure in which electrons tunnel from a doped semiconductor emitter layer into a quantum well (QW) layer and subsequently drift laterally to a specially designed contact. Pronounced NDR is seen already at room temperature and at 77 K the peak to valley (PTV) ratio in current is more than 2:1. Our results lend support to a recent hypothesis by Luryi [Appl. Phys. Lett. 47, 490 (1985)] that the NDR in double-barrier tunneling structures is not related to a resonant enhancement of the tunneling probability at selected electron energies, but rather originates from tunneling into a system of electron states of reduced dimensionality. For comparison we have also fabricated a QW structure with two tunneling barriers, in which the parameters of the emitter barrier and the QW are identical to those in the single-barrier structure. In the double-barrier structure we have obtained current densities as high as 4×104 A/cm2 and a NDR with PTV ratios of 3:1 at 300 K and 9:1 at 77 K.


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