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Novel materials, grid design rule, and characterization methods for multi-junction solar cells

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This dissertation addresses challenges pertaining to multi-junction (MJ) solar cells from material development to device design and characterization. Firstly, among the various methods to improve the energy conversion efficiency of MJ solar cells using, a novel approach proposed recently is

This dissertation addresses challenges pertaining to multi-junction (MJ) solar cells from material development to device design and characterization. Firstly, among the various methods to improve the energy conversion efficiency of MJ solar cells using, a novel approach proposed recently is to use II-VI (MgZnCd)(SeTe) and III-V (AlGaIn)(AsSb) semiconductors lattice-matched on GaSb or InAs substrates for current-matched subcells with minimal defect densities. CdSe/CdTe superlattices are proposed as a potential candidate for a subcell in the MJ solar cell designs using this material system, and therefore the material properties of the superlattices are studied. The high structural qualities of the superlattices are obtained from high resolution X-ray diffraction measurements and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy images. The effective bandgap energies of the superlattices obtained from the photoluminescence (PL) measurements vary with the layer thicknesses, and are smaller than the bandgap energies of either the constituent material. Furthermore, The PL peak position measured at the steady state exhibits a blue shift that increases with the excess carrier concentration. These results confirm a strong type-II band edge alignment between CdSe and CdTe. The valence band offset between unstrained CdSe and CdTe is determined as 0.63 eV±0.06 eV by fitting the measured PL peak positions using the Kronig-Penney model. The blue shift in PL peak position is found to be primarily caused by the band bending effect based on self-consistent solutions of the Schrödinger and Poisson equations. Secondly, the design of the contact grid layout is studied to maximize the power output and energy conversion efficiency for concentrator solar cells. Because the conventional minimum power loss method used for the contact design is not accurate in determining the series resistance loss, a method of using a distributed series resistance model to maximize the power output is proposed for the contact design. It is found that the junction recombination loss in addition to the series resistance loss and shadowing loss can significantly affect the contact layout. The optimal finger spacing and maximum efficiency calculated by the two methods are close, and the differences are dependent on the series resistance and saturation currents of solar cells. Lastly, the accurate measurements of external quantum efficiency (EQE) are important for the design and development of MJ solar cells. However, the electrical and optical couplings between the subcells have caused EQE measurement artifacts. In order to interpret the measurement artifacts, DC and small signal models are built for the bias condition and the scan of chopped monochromatic light in the EQE measurements. Characterization methods are developed for the device parameters used in the models. The EQE measurement artifacts are found to be caused by the shunt and luminescence coupling effects, and can be minimized using proper voltage and light biases. Novel measurement methods using a pulse voltage bias or a pulse light bias are invented to eliminate the EQE measurement artifacts. These measurement methods are nondestructive and easy to implement. The pulse voltage bias or pulse light bias is superimposed on the conventional DC voltage and light biases, in order to control the operating points of the subcells and counterbalance the effects of shunt and luminescence coupling. The methods are demonstrated for the first time to effectively eliminate the measurement artifacts.

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2012

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Generalized Monte Carlo tool for investigating low-field and high field properties of materials using non-parabolic band structure model

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In semiconductor physics, many properties or phenomena of materials can be brought to light through certain changes in the materials. Having a tool to define new material properties so as to highlight certain phenomena greatly increases the ability to understand

In semiconductor physics, many properties or phenomena of materials can be brought to light through certain changes in the materials. Having a tool to define new material properties so as to highlight certain phenomena greatly increases the ability to understand that phenomena. The generalized Monte Carlo tool allows the user to do that by keeping every parameter used to define a material, within the non-parabolic band approximation, a variable in the control of the user. A material is defined by defining its valleys, energies, valley effective masses and their directions. The types of scattering to be included can also be chosen. The non-parabolic band structure model is used. With the deployment of the generalized Monte Carlo tool onto www.nanoHUB.org the tool will be available to users around the world. This makes it a very useful educational tool that can be incorporated into curriculums. The tool is integrated with Rappture, to allow user-friendly access of the tool. The user can freely define a material in an easy systematic way without having to worry about the coding involved. The output results are automatically graphed and since the code incorporates an analytic band structure model, it is relatively fast. The versatility of the tool has been investigated and has produced results closely matching the experimental values for some common materials. The tool has been uploaded onto www.nanoHUB.org by integrating it with the Rappture interface. By using Rappture as the user interface, one can easily make changes to the current parameter sets to obtain even more accurate results.

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2011

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Modeling reliability of Gallium Nitride high electron mobility transistors

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This work is focused on modeling the reliability concerns in GaN HEMT technology. The two main reliability concerns in GaN HEMTs are electromechanical coupling and current collapse. A theoretical model was developed to model the piezoelectric polarization charge dependence on

This work is focused on modeling the reliability concerns in GaN HEMT technology. The two main reliability concerns in GaN HEMTs are electromechanical coupling and current collapse. A theoretical model was developed to model the piezoelectric polarization charge dependence on the applied gate voltage. As the sheet electron density in the channel increases, the influence of electromechanical coupling reduces as the electric field in the comprising layers reduces. A Monte Carlo device simulator that implements the theoretical model was developed to model the transport in GaN HEMTs. It is observed that with the coupled formulation, the drain current degradation in the device varies from 2%-18% depending on the gate voltage. Degradation reduces with the increase in the gate voltage due to the increase in the electron gas density in the channel. The output and transfer characteristics match very well with the experimental data. An electro-thermal device simulator was developed coupling the Monte Caro-Poisson solver with the energy balance solver for acoustic and optical phonons. An output current degradation of around 2-3 % at a drain voltage of 5V due to self-heating was observed. It was also observed that the electrostatics near the gate to drain region of the device changes due to the hot spot created in the device from self heating. This produces an electric field in the direction of accelerating the electrons from the channel to surface states. This will aid to the current collapse phenomenon in the device. Thus, the electric field in the gate to drain region is very critical for reliable performance of the device. Simulations emulating the charging of the surface states were also performed and matched well with experimental data. Methods to improve the reliability performance of the device were also investigated in this work. A shield electrode biased at source potential was used to reduce the electric field in the gate to drain extension region. The hot spot position was moved away from the critical gate to drain region towards the drain as the shield electrode length and dielectric thickness were being altered.

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2013

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Multi scale study of heat transfer using Monte Carlo technique for phonon transport

Description

Self-heating degrades the performance of devices in advanced technology nodes. Understanding of self-heating effects is necessary to improve device performance. Heat generation in these devices occurs at nanometer scales but heat transfer is a microscopic phenomena. Hence a multi-scale modeling

Self-heating degrades the performance of devices in advanced technology nodes. Understanding of self-heating effects is necessary to improve device performance. Heat generation in these devices occurs at nanometer scales but heat transfer is a microscopic phenomena. Hence a multi-scale modeling approach is required to study the self-heating effects. A state of the art Monte Carlo device simulator and the commercially available Giga 3D tool from Silvaco are used in our study to understand the self heating effects. The Monte Carlo device simulator solves the electrical transport and heat generation for nanometer length scales accurately while the Giga 3D tool solves for thermal transport over micrometer length scales. The approach used is to understand the self-heating effects in a test device structure, composed of a heater and a sensor, fabricated and characterized by IMEC. The heater is the Device Under Test(DUT) and the sensor is used as a probe. Therefore, the heater is biased in the saturation region and the sensor is biased in the sub-threshold regime. Both are planar MOSFETs of gate length equal to 22 nm. The simulated I-V characteristics of the sensor match with the experimental behavior at lower applied drain voltages but differ at higher applied biases.

The self-heating model assumes that the heat transport within the device follows Energy Balance model which may not be accurate. To properly study heat transport within the device, a state of the art Monte Carlo device simulator is necessary. In this regard, the Phonon Monte Carlo(PMC) simulator is developed. Phonons are treated as quasi particles that carry heat energy. Like electrons, phonons obey a corresponding Boltzmann Transport Equation(BTE) which can be used to study their transport. The direct solution of the BTE for phonons is possible, but it is difficult to incorporate all scattering mechanisms. In the Monte Carlo based solution method, it is easier to incorporate different relevant scattering mechanisms. Although the Monte Carlo method is computationally intensive, it provides good insight into the physical nature of the transport problem. Hence Monte Carlo based techniques are used in the present work for studying phonon transport. Monte Carlo simulations require calculating the scattering rates for different scattering processes. In the present work, scattering rates for three phonon interactions are calculated from different approaches presented in the literature. Optical phonons are also included in the transport problem. Finally, the temperature dependence of thermal conductivity for silicon is calculated in the range from 100K to 900K and is compared to available experimental data.

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2016

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The phonon Monte Carlo simulation

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Thermal effects in nano-scaled devices were reviewed and modeling methodologies to deal with this issue were discussed. The phonon energy balance equations model, being one of the important previous works regarding the modeling of heating effects in nano-scale devices, was

Thermal effects in nano-scaled devices were reviewed and modeling methodologies to deal with this issue were discussed. The phonon energy balance equations model, being one of the important previous works regarding the modeling of heating effects in nano-scale devices, was derived. Then, detailed description was given on the Monte Carlo (MC) solution of the phonon Boltzmann Transport Equation. The phonon MC solver was developed next as part of this thesis. Simulation results of the thermal conductivity in bulk Si show good agreement with theoretical/experimental values from literature.

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2015

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Multiscale Modeling of Thermal and Electrical Characteristics in Silicon CMOS Devices

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This dissertation explores thermal effects and electrical characteristics in metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) devices and circuits using a multiscale dual-carrier approach. Simulating electron and hole transport with carrier-phonon interactions for thermal transport allows for the study of complementary logic

This dissertation explores thermal effects and electrical characteristics in metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) devices and circuits using a multiscale dual-carrier approach. Simulating electron and hole transport with carrier-phonon interactions for thermal transport allows for the study of complementary logic circuits with device level accuracy in electrical characteristics and thermal effects. The electrical model is comprised of an ensemble Monte Carlo solution to the Boltzmann Transport Equation coupled with an iterative solution to two-dimensional (2D) Poisson’s equation. The thermal model solves the energy balance equations accounting for carrier-phonon and phonon-phonon interactions. Modeling of circuit behavior uses parametric iteration to ensure current and voltage continuity. This allows for modeling of device behavior, analyzing circuit performance, and understanding thermal effects.

The coupled electro-thermal approach, initially developed for individual n-channel MOSFET (NMOS) devices, now allows multiple devices in tandem providing a platform for better comparison with heater-sensor experiments. The latest electro-thermal solver allows simulation of multiple NMOS and p-channel MOSFET (PMOS) devices, providing a platform for the study of complementary MOSFET (CMOS) circuit behavior. Modeling PMOS devices necessitates the inclusion of hole transport and hole-phonon interactions. The analysis of CMOS circuits uses the electro-thermal device simulation methodology alongside parametric iteration to ensure current continuity. Simulating a CMOS inverter and analyzing the extracted voltage transfer characteristics verifies the efficacy of this methodology. This work demonstrates the effectiveness of the dual-carrier electro-thermal solver in simulating thermal effects in CMOS circuits.

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2019

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Full band Monte Carlo simulation of nanowires and nanowire field effect transistors

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In this work, transport in nanowire materials and nanowire field effect transistors is studied using a full band Monte Carlo simulator within the tight binding basis. Chapter 1 is dedicated to the importance of nanowires and nanoscale devices in present

In this work, transport in nanowire materials and nanowire field effect transistors is studied using a full band Monte Carlo simulator within the tight binding basis. Chapter 1 is dedicated to the importance of nanowires and nanoscale devices in present day electronics and the necessity to use a computationally efficient tool to simulate transport in these devices. Chapter 2 discusses the calculation of the full band structure of nanowires based on an atomistic tight binding approach, particularly noting the use of the exact same tight binding parameters for bulk band structures as well as the nanowire band structures. Chapter 3 contains the scattering rate formula for deformation potential, polar optical phonon, ionized impurity and impact ionization scattering in nanowires using Fermi’s golden rule and the tight binding basis to describe the wave functions. A method to calculate the dielectric screening in 1D systems within the tight binding basis is also described. Importantly, the scattering rates of nanowires tends to the bulk scattering rates at high energies, enabling the use of the same parameter set that were fitted to bulk experimental data to be used in the simulation of nanowire transport. A robust and efficient method to model interband tunneling is discussed in chapter 4 and its importance in nanowire transport is highlighted. In chapter 5, energy relaxation of excited electrons is studied for free standing nanowires and cladded nanowires. Finally, in chapter 6, a full band Monte Carlo particle based solver is created which treats confinement in a full quantum way and the current voltage characteristics as well as the subthreshold swing and percentage of ballistic transport is analyzed for an In0.7Ga0.3As junctionless nanowire field effect transistor.

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2016

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A Study of Hole Transport in Crystalline Monoclinic Selenium Using Bulk Monte Carlo Techniques

Description

Amorphous materials can be uniformly deposited over a large area at lower cost compared to crystalline semiconductors (Silicon or Germanium). This property along with its high resistivity and wide band-gap found many applications in devices like rectifiers, xerography, xero-radiography, ultrahigh

Amorphous materials can be uniformly deposited over a large area at lower cost compared to crystalline semiconductors (Silicon or Germanium). This property along with its high resistivity and wide band-gap found many applications in devices like rectifiers, xerography, xero-radiography, ultrahigh sensitivity optical cameras, digital radiography, and mammography (2D and 3D tomosynthesis). Amorphous selenium is the only amorphous material that undergoes impact ionization where only holes avalanche at high electric fields. This leads to a small excess noise factor which is a very important performance comparison matrix for avalanche photodetectors. Thus, there is a need to model high field avalanche process in amorphous selenium. At high fields, the transport in amorphous selenium changes from low values of activated trap-limited drift mobility to higher values of band transport mobility, via extended states. When the transport shifts from activated mobility with a high degree of localization to extended state band transport, the wavefunction of the amorphous material resembles that of its crystalline counterpart. To that effect, crystalline monoclinic selenium which has the closest resemblance to vapor deposited amorphous selenium has been studied. Modelling a crystalline semiconductor makes calculations simpler. The transport phenomena in crystalline monoclinic selenium is studied by using a bulk Monte Carlo technique to solve the semi-classical Boltzman Transport equation and thus calculate vital electrical parameters like mobility, critical field and mobility variations against temperatures. The band structure and the density of states function for monoclinic selenium was obtained by using an atomistic simulation tool, the Atomistic Toolkit in the Virtual Nano Lab, Quantum Wise, Copenhagen, Denmark. Moreover, the velocity and energy against time characteristics have been simulated for a wide range of electric fields (1-1000 $\frac{kV}{cm}$), which is further used to find the hole drift mobility. The low field mobility is obtained from the slope of the velocity vs. electric field plot. The low field hole mobility was calculated to be 5.51 $\frac{cm^{2}}{Vs}$ at room temperature. The experimental value for low field hole mobility is 7.29 $\frac{cm^{2}}{Vs}$. The energy versus electric field simulation at high fields is used to match the experimental onset of avalanche (754 $\frac{kV}{cm}$) for an ionization threshold energy of 2.1 eV. The Arrhenius plot for mobility against temperature is simulated and compared with published experimental data. The experimental and simulation results show a close match, thus validating the study.

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2017

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Mobility Modeling of Gallium Nitride Nanowires

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Semiconductor nanowires have the potential to emerge as the building blocks of next generation field-effect transistors, logic gates, solar cells and light emitting diodes. Use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) and other wide bandgap materials combines the advantages of III-nitrides along

Semiconductor nanowires have the potential to emerge as the building blocks of next generation field-effect transistors, logic gates, solar cells and light emitting diodes. Use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) and other wide bandgap materials combines the advantages of III-nitrides along with the enhanced mobility offered by 2-dimensional confinement present in nanowires. The focus of this thesis is on developing a low field mobility model for a GaN nanowire using Ensemble Monte Carlo (EMC) techniques. A 2D Schrödinger-Poisson solver and a one-dimensional Monte Carlo solver is developed for an Aluminum Gallium Nitride/Gallium Nitride Heterostructure nanowire. A GaN/AlN/AlGaN heterostructure device is designed which creates 2-dimensional potential well for electrons. The nanowire is treated as a quasi-1D system in this work. A self-consistent 2D Schrödinger-Poisson solver is designed which determines the subband energies and the corresponding wavefunctions of the confined system. Three scattering mechanisms: acoustic phonon scattering, polar optical phonon scattering and piezoelectric scattering are considered to account for the electron phonon interactions in the system. Overlap integrals and 1D scattering rate expressions are derived for all the mechanisms listed. A generic one-dimensional Monte Carlo solver is also developed. Steady state results from the 1D Monte Carlo solver are extracted to determine the low field mobility of the GaN nanowires.

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2017