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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Physics and Application of Resonant Tunnelling for Novel Electronic, Infrared and Optical Devices


The main goal of PARTNERS is the creation of new classes of devices based on the most recent findings in tunnelling transport. Three basic activities will play a crucial role in the realisation of the aims:

- Theory and modelling: in particular the development of a fundamental physical model for the description of electrical and optical properties of structures.
- Physical analysis: in particular steady-state optical analysis, magneto-optical analysis and transient optical analysis and high-frequency high-speed analysis of operational tunnelling structures.
- Growth and processing: especially the molecular beam epitaxial growth of heterostructures in various III-V materials and ultra-fine lithography, enabling the advanced processing of vertical tunnelling components with nanoscale lateral dimensions.
A study has been made of the physics and potential device applications of resonant tunnelling and related structures, both for electrical and for optical applications. The optical work focused on improving quantum efficiency, decreasing linewidth, maximising wavelength tuning, obtaining optical bistable operation, decreasing switching speed, obtaining room temperature operation and determining scalability of LEDs. Theory and modelling assisted several of these research topics.
A tunelling program with graphical user interface ideally suited to application inb the classroom has been developed and is available.
The electrical work covered the use of single barrier varactors for use in frequency multipliers. Both conventional structures and interband tunelling diodes have been fabricated and studied.

The members of the consortium have all been responsible for international pioneering work in this field. Building upon the most recent developments in the various laboratories, the partners will formulate a series of devices to form the framework of the work. In many cases, prototypes of the proposed devices have already been constructed and exhibit promising characteristics that would be relevant for future industrial applications.

The essential theme of the research will be to gain understanding of the basic physics underlying the operation of the devices. Each device will be pushed to its performance limits using all the techniques and expertise available. Exploitable devices will be identified and redesigned to maximise their industrial applicability by careful selection of growth and fabrication parameters. Specific, desirable properties will be emphasised with this approach. Feedback between the three areas of theory, analysis and fabrication should produce the ultimate goal: a series of prototype devices available to the European semiconductor industry for further development.


Although the research carried out by the different institutions and the value offered by cooperation ensures a long-term industrial potential, the project is developing basic technology that industry will need in the medium term. Real applications are foreseen in consumer electronics, telecommunications and space. Major interest in the consortium's work has already been expressed by various European system houses.


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Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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Interuniversitair Mikroelektronica Centrum
EU contribution
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Kapeldreef 75
3030 Heverlee

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Participants (6)