Three-Dimensional Imaging of Beam-Induced Biasing of InP/GaInP Tunnel Diodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Electron holographic tomography was used to obtain three-dimensional reconstructions of the morphology and electrostatic potential gradient of axial GaInP/InP nanowire tunnel diodes. Crystal growth was carried out in two opposite directions: GaInP–Zn/InP–S and InP–Sn/GaInP–Zn, using Zn as the p-type dopant in the GaInP but with changes to the n-type dopant (S or Sn) in the InP. Secondary electron and electron beam-induced current images obtained using scanning electron microscopy indicated the presence of p–n junctions in both cases and current–voltage characteristics measured via lithographic contacts showed the negative differential resistance, characteristic of band-to-band tunneling, for both diodes. Electron holographic tomography measurements confirmed a short depletion width in both cases (21 ± 3 nm) but different built-in potentials, Vbi, of 1.0 V for the p-type (Zn) to n-type (S) transition, and 0.4 V for both were lower than the expected 1.5 V for these junctions if degenerately doped. Charging induced by the electron beam was evident in phase images which showed nonlinearity in the surrounding vacuum, most severe in the case of the nanowire grounded at the p-type Au contact. We attribute their lower Vbi to asymmetric secondary electron emission, beam-induced current biasing, and poor grounding contacts.


External organisations
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3490-3497
JournalNano Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch