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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Glenn D. Boreman
  • Vol. 44, Iss. 32 — Nov. 10, 2005
  • pp: 6813–6822

Ni–NiO–Ni tunnel junctions for terahertz and infrared detection

Philip C. D. Hobbs, Robert B. Laibowitz, and Frank R. Libsch  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 44, Issue 32, pp. 6813-6822 (2005)

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We present complete experimental determinations of the tunnel barrier parameters (two barrier heights, junction area, dielectric constant, and extrinsic series resistance) as a function of temperature for submicrometer Ni–NiO–Ni thin-film tunnel junctions, showing that when the temperature-invariant parameters are forced to be consistent, good-quality fits are obtained between I–V curves and the Simmons equation for this very-low-barrier system (measured ϕ ≈ 0.20 eV). A splitting of ≈10 meV in the barrier heights due to the different processing histories of the upper and lower electrodes is clearly shown, with the upper interface having a lower barrier, consistent with the increased effect of the image potential at a sharper material interface. It is believed that this is the first barrier height measurement with sufficient resolution for this effect to be seen. A fabrication technique that produces high yields and consistent junction behavior is presented as well as the preliminary results of inelastic tunneling spectroscopy at 4 K that show a prominent peak at ∼59 meV, shifted slightly with respect to the expected transverse optic phonon excitation in bulk NiO but consistent with other surface-sensitive experiments. We discuss the implications of these results for the design of efficient detectors for terahertz and IR radiation.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(040.3060) Detectors : Infrared
(040.5160) Detectors : Photodetectors
(130.0250) Integrated optics : Optoelectronics
(160.3900) Materials : Metals
(190.4360) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, devices
(240.7040) Optics at surfaces : Tunneling

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: January 21, 2005
Revised Manuscript: April 5, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: May 2, 2005
Published: November 10, 2005

Philip C. D. Hobbs, Robert B. Laibowitz, and Frank R. Libsch, "Ni–NiO–Ni tunnel junctions for terahertz and infrared detection," Appl. Opt. 44, 6813-6822 (2005)

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