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Proceedings Paper

Light emission in silicon tunnel diodes
Author(s): James G. Mihaychuk; Mike W. Denhoff; Sean P. McAlister; W. Ross McKinnon; Penghui Ma; Jean Lapointe; Albert Chin
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Paper Abstract

We report general hot-carrier mechanisms for electroluminescence (EL) in metal-insulator-silicon tunnel diodes. We demonstrate these effects using various combinations of Si-oxide and Al-oxide tunnel-barrier insulators. In addition to an EL peak near the 1.1-eV Si band gap, we observe broad-spectrum EL that can span the detector-limited range from 0.7 eV to 2.6 eV (1780 nm to 480 nm). The maximum above-band-gap photon energy increases with the forward bias, consistent with hot-carrier recombination in Si. Below-band-gap EL is likely due to (i) hot-electron inter-conduction-band radiative transitions in Si and/or (ii) radiative recombination via localized interface states. Light emanates from specific sites with apparent size < 1 μm that appear during high-forward-current electrical stress. The number of sites can be in the hundreds, and is in direct proportion to the stress current, as anticipated for tunnel barrier dielectric breakdown. Current-voltage characteristics can be fit using a model appropriate to localized breakdown sites. Virtually all current is thought to cross the barrier at such sites, with local current densities as high as 108 A/cm2. We also describe novel devices where tunnelling occurs at predetermined sub-micron sites formed in 18-nm-thick SiO2 using electron-beam lithography and wet-chemical etching.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 December 2004
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 5577, Photonics North 2004: Optical Components and Devices, (20 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.567082
Show Author Affiliations
James G. Mihaychuk, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
Mike W. Denhoff, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
Sean P. McAlister, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
W. Ross McKinnon, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
Penghui Ma, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
Jean Lapointe, Institute for Microstructural Sciences/NRC (Canada)
Albert Chin, National Chiao Tung Univ. (Taiwan)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5577:
Photonics North 2004: Optical Components and Devices
John C. Armitage; Simon Fafard; Roger A. Lessard; George A. Lampropoulos, Editor(s)

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