Theory and Applications of Negative Differential Resistance in the Current-Voltage Characteristics of Metal-Insulator-Metal Diodes
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diodes have been proposed as infrared and optical frequency detectors and mixers. However, the utility of these diodes is severely limited by their insensitivity, which is a direct result of the linearity of their current-voltage characteristics~ Fortunately, a small fraction of the MIM diodes constructed to date have exhibited extremely nonlinear current-voltage characteristics and negative differential resistance. These MIM diodes with strongly nonlinear current-voltage characteristics have been shown to be much more sensitive than regular MIM diodes. Furthermore, the existence of negative resistance in the current-voltage characteristics raises the possibility of using MIM diodes as infrared and optical frequency oscillators and amplifiers. The mechanism responsible for the strongly nonlinear current-voltage characteristics in MIM diodes obviously differs from the usual mechanism of operation of these diodes, since only a small fraction of all MIM diodes constructed have exhibited the strong nonlinearities. A theory has been published purporting to explain the strong nonlinearities, but the author discovered when attempting to build MIM diodes that this theory does not explain most of the published data on MIM diodes that exhibit strong nonlinearities in their current-voltage characteristics. This discovery prompted a shift in the direction of the research, which led to the theory presented in this dissertation...