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Space-charge-limited current in fast neutron irradiated silicon


Vu, Quat Thuong (1970) Space-charge-limited current in fast neutron irradiated silicon. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/T93C-DG21.


DC and transient measurements of space-charge-limited currents through alloyed and symmetrical n^+ν n^+ structures made of nominally 75 kΩcm ν-type silicon are studied before and after the introduction of defects by 14 MeV neutron radiation. In the transient measurements, the current response to a large turn-on voltage step is analyzed. Right after the voltage step is applied, the current transient reaches a value which we shall call "initial current" value. At longer times, the transient current decays from the initial current value if traps are present.

Before the irradiation, the initial current density-voltage characteristics J(V) agree quantitatively with the theory of trap-free space-charge-limited current in solids. We obtain for the electron mobility a temperature dependence which indicates that scattering due to impurities is weak. This is expected for the high purity silicon used. The drift velocity-field relationships for electrons at room temperature and 77°K, derived from the initial current density-voltage characteristics, are shown to fit the relationships obtained with other methods by other workers. The transient current response for t > 0 remains practically constant at the initial value, thus indicating negligible trapping.

Measurement of the initial (trap-free) current density-voltage characteristics after the irradiation indicates that the drift velocity-field relationship of electrons in silicon is affected by the radiation only at low temperature in the low field range. The effect is not sufficiently pronounced to be readily analyzed and no formal description of it is offered. In the transient response after irradiation for t > 0, the current decays from its initial value, thus revealing the presence of traps. To study these traps, in addition to transient measurements, the DC current characteristics were measured and shown to follow the theory of trap-dominated space-charge-limited current in solids. This theory was applied to a model consisting of two discrete levels in the forbidden band gap. Calculations and experiments agreed and the capture cross-sections of the trapping levels were obtained. This is the first experimental case known to us through which the flow of space-charge-limited current is so simply representable.

These results demonstrate the sensitivity of space-charge-limited current flow as a tool to detect traps and changes in the drift velocity-field relationship of carriers caused by radiation. They also establish that devices based on the mode of space-charge-limited current flow will be affected considerably by any type of radiation capable of introducing traps. This point has generally been overlooked so far, but is obviously quite significant.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Electrical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Nicolet, Marc-Aurele
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:2 April 1970
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10062014-162429098
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8669
Deposited By: Bianca Rios
Deposited On:07 Oct 2014 14:36
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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