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Avalanche breakdown

About: Avalanche breakdown is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 3024 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 50504 citation(s).
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A review is given of recent experimental results on laser-induced electric breakdown in transparent optical solid materials. A fundamental breakdown threshold exists characteristic for each material. The threshold is determined by the same physical process as dc breakdown, namely, avalanche ionization. The dependence of the threshold on laser pulse duration and frequency is consistent with this process. The implication of this breakdown mechanism for laser bulk and surface damage to optical components is discussed. It also determines physical properties of self-focused filaments.

613 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Elemental and compound semiconductors, including wide-bandgap semiconductors, are critically examined for high-power electronic applications in terms of several parameters. On the basis of an analysis applicable to a wide range of semiconducting materials and by using the available measured physical parameters, it is shown that wide-bandgap semiconductors such as SiC and diamond could offer significant advantages compared to either silicon or group III-V compound semiconductors for these applications. The analysis uses peak electric field strength at avalanche breakdown as a critical material parameter for evaluating the quality of a semiconducting material for high-power electronics. Theoretical calculations show improvement by orders of magnitude in the on-resistance, twentyfold improvement in the maximum frequency of operation, and potential for successful operation at temperatures beyond 600 degrees C for diamond high-power devices. New figures of merit for power-handling capability that emphasize electrical and thermal conductivities of the material are derived and are applied to various semiconducting materials. It is shown that an improvement in power-handling capabilities of semiconductor devices by three orders of magnitude is feasible by replacing silicon with silicon carbide; improvement in power-handling capability by six orders of magnitude is projected for diamond-based devices. >

576 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
04 Mar 2010-Nature
TL;DR: Nanophotonic and nanoelectronic engineering aimed at shaping optical and electrical fields on the nanometre scale within a germanium amplification layer can overcome the otherwise intrinsically poor noise characteristics, achieving a dramatic reduction of amplification noise by over 70 per cent.
Abstract: A key element in the integration of microprocessor chips with optical communications circuits is a photodetector to mediate the optical and electronic signals. Germanium photodetectors are very attractive in this regard because they are compatible with conventional silicon circuitry, but they suffer from noise that limits their performance. Assefa et al. now show how the poor intrinsic noise characteristics of germanium can be overcome through the careful engineering of optical and electrical fields at the nanometre scale. The result is a compact and efficient photodetector that could enable a range of optoelectronic applications. To integrate microchips with optical communications a photodetector is required to mediate the optical and electronic signals. Although germanium photodetectors are compatible with silicon their performance is impaired by poor intrinsic noise. Here the noise is reduced by nanometre engineering of optical and electrical fields to produce a compact and efficient photodetector. Integration of optical communication circuits directly into high-performance microprocessor chips can enable extremely powerful computer systems1. A germanium photodetector that can be monolithically integrated with silicon transistor technology2,3,4,5,6,7,8 is viewed as a key element in connecting chip components with infrared optical signals. Such a device should have the capability to detect very-low-power optical signals at very high speed. Although germanium avalanche photodetectors9,10 (APD) using charge amplification close to avalanche breakdown can achieve high gain and thus detect low-power optical signals, they are universally considered to suffer from an intolerably high amplification noise characteristic of germanium11. High gain with low excess noise has been demonstrated using a germanium layer only for detection of light signals, with amplification taking place in a separate silicon layer12. However, the relatively thick semiconductor layers that are required in such structures limit APD speeds to about 10 GHz, and require excessively high bias voltages of around 25 V (ref. 12). Here we show how nanophotonic and nanoelectronic engineering aimed at shaping optical and electrical fields on the nanometre scale within a germanium amplification layer can overcome the otherwise intrinsically poor noise characteristics, achieving a dramatic reduction of amplification noise by over 70 per cent. By generating strongly non-uniform electric fields, the region of impact ionization in germanium is reduced to just 30 nm, allowing the device to benefit from the noise reduction effects13,14,15 that arise at these small distances. Furthermore, the smallness of the APDs means that a bias voltage of only 1.5 V is required to achieve an avalanche gain of over 10 dB with operational speeds exceeding 30 GHz. Monolithic integration of such a device into computer chips might enable applications beyond computer optical interconnects1—in telecommunications16, secure quantum key distribution17, and subthreshold ultralow-power transistors18.

514 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
A. G. Chynoweth1, K. G. McKay1
15 Apr 1956-Physical Review
Abstract: Visible light is emitted from reverse-biased silicon $p\ensuremath{-}n$ junctions at highly localized regions where avalanche breakdown is taking place. The emission occurs in both grown and diffused junctions. By using junctions diffused to a depth of only 2 microns below the crystal surface, it was established that the light sources are randomly spaced over the whole area of the junction as well as around the periphery where the junction intercepts the surface. The light sources are too small to be resolved under a high-power microscope. Their sites are reproducible with current cycling and their intensity and color are relatively insensitive to the field distribution, to the junction width, and to temperature. The number of light spots increases with the current rather than individual spots growing brighter. It is concluded that all the breakdown current is carried through the junction by these localized light-emitting spots.The spectral distribution of the light is continuous with a long tail extending to photon energies greater than 3.3 ev. It is concluded that recombination between free electrons and free holes within the junction region is responsible for the light at the shorter wavelengths, the carrier energies in excess of the energy gap being supplied by the field. At longer wavelengths there appears to be a considerable contribution to the emission from intraband transitions.A tentative figure for the emission efficiency over the visible spectrum is one photon for every ${10}^{8}$ electrons crossing the junction. The recombination cross section required is reasonable, being about ${10}^{\ensuremath{-}22}$ ${\mathrm{cm}}^{2}$.

441 citations

David James Coe1
04 Dec 1984-
Abstract: A field effect transistor, a bipolar transistor, a PIN diode, a Schottky rectifier or other high voltage semiconductor device comprise a semiconductor body having a depletion layer formed throughout a portion in at least a high voltage mode of operation of the device, such as, by reverse biasing a rectifying junction. The known use of a single high-resistivity body portion of one conductivity type to carry both the high voltage and to conduct current results in a series resistivity increasing approximately in proportion with the square of the breakdown voltage. This square-law relationship is avoided by the present invention in which a depleted body portion comprising an interleaved structure of first and second regions of alternating conductivity types carries the high voltage which occurs across the depleted body portion. The thickness and doping concentration of each of these first and second regions are such that when depleted the space charge per unit area formed in each of these regions is balanced at least to the extent that an electric field resulting from any imbalance is less than the critical field strength at which avalanche breakdown would occur in the body portion. The first regions in at least one mode of operation of the device provide electrically parallel current paths extending through the body portion.

437 citations

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Topic's top 5 most impactful authors

John P. R. David

73 papers, 1.6K citations

G.J. Rees

38 papers, 786 citations

Chee Hing Tan

34 papers, 705 citations

Joachim Peinke

22 papers, 266 citations

Jo Shien Ng

18 papers, 439 citations