Characterisation of silicon MIS negative resistance devices
Metal-insulator-semiconductor switches (MISS), in which the T denotes some form of thin semi-insulating layer and the semiconductor part consists of a pn junction, are part of the general class of regenerative switching devices which includes the thyristor. The switching behaviour of the MISS derives from the ability of the MIS junction to exhibit current gain and to exist in two modes, deep depletion and inversion. In this thesis, a general model for the regenerative switching is proposed after investigating the properties of the MIS junction both theoretically and experimentally. Results from MIS diodes with tunnelling-thickness oxide Mayers indicate that interface states play a dominant role in their electrical behaviour and that the uniformity of the oxide is poor, giving rise to a large spread in the current-voltage characteristics. Subsequently, the epitaxial form of the MISS device is investigated and in particular the importance of isolation of the pn junction. It is concluded that spreading effects set a practical lower limit to the device dimensions, making the epitaxial form unsuitable for microelectronic applications. An alternative semi-insulator, 'silicon-rich oxide' (SRO) is introduced as an optional I-layer with possibly greater integrity than tunnel oxide. MIS diodes formed with SRO are shown to have very similar properties to tunnelling diodes. Large area devices fabricated using this material are surprisingly discovered to exhibit stable negative differential resistance (NDR). Although this discovery at first appears to be contrary to normal circuit stability criteria and to the regenerative feedback model itself, both of these points are resolved. It is shown that the frequency of oscillation of an unstable device is controlled by the external circuit. Then it is proposed that if this frequency is greater than the maximum frequency of operation of the regenerative mechanism, stable NDR is observed. In the final chapter, alternative lateral MISS structures which should overcome the geometrical limitations of epitaxial devices are discussed.