Broad-spectrum light emission from metal-insulator-silicon tunnel diodes

James G. Mihaychuk*, Mike W. Denhoff, Scan P. McAlister, W. Ross McKinnon, Jean Lapointe, Albert Chin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    We report broad-spectrum electroluminescence (EL) in metal-insulator- silicon (MIS) tunnel diodes. In addition to Si-band-edge EL near 1.1 eV, hot-electron EL in Si can span a detector-limited range from 0.7 eV to 2.6 eV (1780 nm to 480 nm). The maximum EL photon energy increases with forward-bias voltage. In one implementation, sub-micron-size sites for light emission appear during forward-bias stress. The number of sites is linear in the applied current, consistent with formation of an anti-fuse at each site following breakdown of the insulator. We compare the post-stress current-voltage data to the quantum-point-contact model. Results are presented for various p-type Si(100) MIS devices having thin (8 nm or less) insulating layers of SiO 2, Al2O3, and HfOxNy. We also describe novel MIS devices in which electron-beam lithography of an 18-nm-thick SiO2 insulator is used to define the EL sites.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number05
    Pages (from-to)29-40
    Number of pages12
    JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
    StatePublished - 21 Jul 2005
    EventOptoelectronic Integration on Silicon II - San Jose, CA, United States
    Duration: 25 Jan 200526 Jan 2005


    • Electroluminescence
    • Silicon
    • Soft breakdown
    • Tunnel diode


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