Room-Temperature, Electric Field-Induced Creation of Stable Devices in CulnSe2 Crystals

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Science  09 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5080, pp. 271-274
DOI: 10.1126/science.258.5080.271


Multiple-junction structures were formed, on a microscopic scale, at room temperature, by the application of a strong electric field across originally homogeneous crystals of the ternary chalcopyrite semiconductor CulnSe2. After removal of the electric field, the structures were examined with electron beam-induced current microscopy and their current-voltage characteristics were measured. Bipolar transistor action was observed, indicating that sharp bulk junctions can form in this way at low ambient temperatures. The devices are stable under normal (low-voltage) operating conditions. Possible causes for this effect, including electromigration and electric field-assisted defect reactions, are suggested.