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Double-Layer Tunneling Transistor

The Deltt, otherwise known as the Double-layer tunneling transistor is constructed of a pair of conductive wells separated by an insulator or high band gap semiconductor (Figure 3432 below). The wells are so thin that electrons are confined to two dimensions. These are known as quantum wells. A pair of these quantum wells are insulated by a thin GaAlAs, high band gap (does not easily conduct) layer. Electrons can tunnel through the insulating layer if the electrons in the two quantum wells have the same momentum and energy. The wells are so thin that the electron may be treated as a wave-- the quantum mechanical duality of particles and waves. The top and optional bottom control gates may be adjusted to equalize the energy levels (resonance) of the electrons to allow conduction from source to drain. Barrier diagram red bars show unequal energy levels in the wells, an “off-state” condition. Proper biasing of the gates equalizes the energy levels of electrons in the wells, the “on-state” condition. The bars would be at the same level in the energy level diagram.

Figure 3432: Double-layer tunneling transistor (Deltt) is composed of two electron containing wells separated by a nonconducting barrier. The gate voltages may be adjusted so that the energy and momentum of the electrons in the wells are equal which permits electrons to tunnel through the nonconductive barrier. (The energy levels are shown as unequal in the barrier diagram).

If gate bias is increased beyond that required for tunneling, the energy levels in the quantum wells no longer match, tunneling is inhibited, source to drain current decreases. To summarize, increasing gate bias from zero results in on, off, on conditions. This allows a pair of Deltt's to be stacked in the manner of a CMOS complementary pair; though, different p- and n-type transistors are not required. Power supply voltage is about 100 mV. Experimental Deltt's have been produced which operate near 4.2 K, 77 K, and 0o C. Room temperature versions are expected.

Last Update: 2010-11-19