"A Theory of Low-field, High-carrier-density Breakdown in Semiconductors"

Kenneth E Kambour, Harold P Hjalmarson, Charles Myles

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Collective impact ionization has been used to explain lock-on, an optically-triggered electrical breakdown occurring in some photoconductive semiconductor switches (PCSS’s). Lock-on is observed in GaAs and InP but not in Si or GaP. Here, a rate equation implementation of collective impact ionization is discussed, and it leads to new insights both about intrinsic electrical breakdown in insulating materials in general and about lock-on specifically. In this approach, lock-on and electrical breakdown are steady state processes controlled by competition between carrier generation and recombination. This leads to theoretical definitions for both the lock-on field and the breakdown field. Our results show that lock-on is a carrierdensity dependent form of electrical breakdown which exists in principle in all semiconductors. Results for GaAs, InP, Si, and GaP are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jun 30 2005


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