Thursday, April 05, 2012

US Patent 8148800 - Semiconductor nanowire with removal of residual carriers

A switching speed of semiconductor nanowire-based devices may be limited by the presence of residual carriers that remain in or near the semiconductor junction when the device is turned off. This patent from HP teaches providing a carrier sink to improve the speed of switching for optical detectors or modulators based on semiconductor nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanowire-based-device comprising:

a semiconductor nanowire having a semiconductor junction; and

a residual carrier sink, the residual carrier sink being adjacent to a surface of the nanowire proximal to the semiconductor junction,

wherein the residual carrier sink facilitates removal of residual carriers from the semiconductor junction using one or both enhanced recombination and direct extraction of residual carriers,

the nanowire-based device being one of an optical detector and an optical modulator.