As discussed in Section 6.3, ()-curves can show resonant tunneling at low temperatures and for small drain voltages, caused by defects, dopants, impurities, oxide variability or any other fluctuation in the potential which can lead to confinement and thus the formation of a quantum dot (QD). As can be seen in the () curve in Fig. 6.9 recorded on SmartArray B using Tech. A with at 4.2 K, there are devices which show an active RTN defect in the same region where the resonance occurs, see Fig. 7.15. This allows to study the interaction between the active RTN defect and the resonance caused by a QD.
Between and RTN traces with lengths of 10 s have been recorded using a step size of . This was done for two drain voltage conditions and . The steps have been detected using Otsu’s method for every recorded trace and the distribution of the capture time , the emission time and the step heights were extracted, as can be seen for a few examples in Fig. 7.16 for with . The extracted distributions allow to calculate the mean values of , and for every in the measured range.
The calculated mean capture and emission times across the characterized region can be seen in Fig. 7.17. With increasing , decreases while is constant. This asymmetry between and is well known from various technologies and operational conditions and does not contribute to the resonance in the () curve . Also the exponential behavior of the time constants on the gate voltage was shown for various technologies [MJC4, 174, 114] under various measurement conditions. Contrary to previous reports , the exponential dependence of the charge transition times is not affected by the resonance, which occurs in the same gate voltage region.
This exponential dependence of the charge transition times on the gate voltage agrees with the models derived in NMP theory which are discussed in detail Chapter 3. According to the classical limit of NMP theory, the charge transition rates depend exponentially on the classical transition barrier between neutral and charged state of a trap. When applying to the device, the trap level is shifted. These shifts result in a proportional shift of the transition barrier and an exponential -dependence. Describing the -dependence with the quantum mechanical picture is more complex because it involves the vibrational wavefunctions. A shift in leads to a change in the overlap of the vibrational wavefunctions resulting in a complex relation between the transition rate and . However, according to a simplified idea of nuclear tunneling, a quantum mechanical tunneling rate also depends exponentially on the classical barrier. And this classical barrier shows a linear dependence on , resulting in an exponential dependence on . Additionally, Fig. 3.9 shows the dependence of the lineshape function on the energetic difference between the initial and the final state. This energetic offset is proportional to and looks qualitatively the same at cryogenic temperatures as for room temperature, which additionally indicates an exponential dependence of the transition rates on , even at cryogenic temperatures.
Based on NMP theory, the transition rates and the corresponding transition times depend on the lineshape function (which depends on the relative positions of the trap levels) and on the carrier density of states . While the energy levels are not affected by a QD, the would be dramatically different inside of a QD and therefore directly affect the charge transition times. Since this is not the case in the measured mean capture and emission times, it can be concluded that the defect is located outside of the QD as indicated in Fig. 7.18.
While the exponential dependence of the transition times on can be explained within NMP theory, the relation between the step heights and the QD is more complex. As can be seen in Fig. 7.19 for and the step height (blue) is clearly affected by the QD and is thus related to the resonance in the () curve (red). Often, is normalized to , as can be seen in the central plots. These normalized step heights look similar to data in previous studies , however, a direct comparison is not possible because does not increase monotonically with . Using the initially measured () curves, can be mapped from the current domain to an equivalent threshold voltage as can be seen in Fig. 7.19 (lower panels). This representation shows that does not increase or decrease directly proportionally with , which renders a simple explanation of the relation between and impossible.
A strong impact of the QD on has been reported before in [224, 242]. In these studies a uniform potential fluctuation model was used for describing the dependence of on
According to this simple model, RTN should vanish at the turning points where , which is in contradiction to our measurements. Therefore, a more complex model is needed to describe the relation between source-drain current and . For this, a precise description of the device electrostatics and transport phenomena is needed, including confinement and the impact of single dopants or other possible sources of the resonance. It might even be necessary to include specific percolation paths in the drain-source current to obtain a conclusive model of the dependence of on . Developing such a model, however, exceeds the scope of this thesis but might be investigated in future studies.