Simulation tools for the analysis of single electronic systems
Developments in theory and experiment have raised the prospect of an electronic technology based on the discrete nature of electron tunnelling through a potential barrier. This thesis deals with novel design and analysis tools developed to study such systems. Possible devices include those constructed from ultrasmall normal tunnelling junctions. These exhibit charging effects including the Coulomb blockade and correlated electron tunnelling. They allow transistor-like control of the transfer of single carriers, and present the prospect of digital systems operating at the information theoretic limit. As such, they are often referred to as single electronic devices. Single electronic devices exhibit self quantising logic and good structural tolerance. Their speed, immunity to thermal noise, and operating voltage all scale beneficially with junction capacitance. For ultrasmall junctions the possibility of room temperature operation at sub picosecond timescales seems feasible. However, they are sensitive to external charge; whether from trapping-detrapping events, externally gated potentials, or system cross-talk. Quantum effects such as charge macroscopic quantum tunnelling may degrade performance. Finally, any practical system will be complex and spatially extended (amplifying the above problems), and prone to fabrication imperfection. This summarises why new design and analysis tools are required. Simulation tools are developed, concentrating on the basic building blocks of single electronic systems; the tunnelling junction array and gated turnstile device. Three main points are considered: the best method of estimating capacitance values from physical system geometry; the mathematical model which should represent electron tunnelling based on this data; application of this model to the investigation of single electronic systems.