Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Gokhan Mumcu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanjukta Bhanja, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Delcie Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarath Witanachchi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Hoff, Ph.D.


Barrier Height, Impedance, Metallic Oxide, Rectification, Transmission Probability, Tunneling


Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM), Metal-Insulator-Insulator-Metal (MIIM), and Metal-Insulator-Insulator-Insulator-Metal (MIIIM) quantum tunneling diodes have been designed, fabricated, and characterized. The key interest of this work was to develop tunneling diodes capable of operating and detecting THz radiation up to 30THz, which is well beyond the operation ranges of other semiconductor-based diodes.

Al2O3, HfO2 and TiO2 metal oxides were employed for studying the behavior of metal-insulator-metal (MIM) and metal-insulator-insulator-metal (MIIM) quantum tunneling diodes. Specifically, ultra-thin films of these oxides with varied thicknesses were deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) as the tunneling junction material that is sandwiched between platinum (Pt) and titanium (Ti) electrodes, with dissimilar work functions of 5.3 eV and 4.1 eV, respectively.

Due to the unique and well-controlled tunneling characteristic of the ALD ultra-thin films, reproducible MIM and MIIM diode devices have been developed. The DC characteristics of MIM and MIIM tunneling junctions with different junction areas and materials were investigated in this work. The effects of the different compositions and thicknesses of the tunneling layer on the diodes were studied systematically. Through the introduction of stacked dual tunneling layers, it is demonstrated that the MIIM and MIIIM diodes exhibited a high degree of asymmetry (large ratio between forward and reverse currents) and a strong nonlinearity in their I-V characteristics. The characterization was performed on diodes with micro and nano-scale junction areas.

The MIM diodes reported herein exhibited lower junction resistances than those reported by prior works. Moreover, a study was conducted to numerically extract the average barrier heights by fitting the analytical model of the tunneling current to the measured I-V responses, which were evaluated with respect to the thickness of the constituent tunneling layer. RF characterization was performed on the MIM diodes up to 65GHz, and its junction impedance was extracted. A rigorous procedure was followed to extract the diode equivalent circuit model to obtain the intrinsic lumped element model parameters of the MIM diodes.