III-V Inversion-Layer Transport

  • S. M. Goodnick
  • D. K. Ferry


Application of an electric field normal to the surface of a semiconductor, such as in a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) device, results in band bending and, for sufficiently strong fields, the formation of an inversion or accumulation layer. It has long been recognized(1) that the strong potential necessary to invert or accumulate the surface, shown schematically in Fig. 1, can quantize the motion of carriers normal to the surface and thus give rise to quasi-two-dimensional behavior for the parallel motion. The rationale for this is easily understood in the following context. Classically, the inversion-layer charge density falls to 1/e of its surface value in a distance over which the surface potential varies by an amount kT. Thus, if the total inversion density is 1012 cm-2, the effective classical width of the inversion layer is only about 5 Å. Clearly, when the electron wavelength is closer to 100 Å, one must expect quantization of the motion perpendicular to the oxide-semiconductor interface. Here the carriers are trapped in a potential well in which the discrete energy eigenvalues for the motion normal to the surface form the minima of a set of quasicontinuous two-dimensional (parallel to the surface) energy bands referred to as subbands. In many cases, these subbands are separated by energies on the order of 50 meV which is significant when compared to the thermal energy kT, even at room temperature.


Inversion Layer Accumulation Layer Subband Energy Lower Subband Indium Arsenide 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Goodnick
    • 1
  • D. K. Ferry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical EngineeringColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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