Diamond Devices Based on Valley Polarization

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Siegbahnsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Suntornwipat, Nattakarn
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Elektricitetslära
  • Kontaktperson: Suntornwipat, Nattakarn
  • Disputation


Diamond is a wide bandgap semiconductor with extreme properties such as high thermal conductivity, high breakdown field, high carrier mobilities and chemical inertness. These properties together with the possibility to synthesize high purity Single-Crystalline (SC) diamond by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), make it a very interesting material and a candidate for use in power electronics and in hazardous environments. The low impurity concentration achieved when fabricating diamond by CVD allows for a detailed study of the intrinsic electronic properties.

Diamond has six equivalent conduction band valleys oriented along the {100} axes with a uniquely low scattering rate between them. At low temperatures, the intervalley phonon scattering rate in diamond becomes negligible, which leads to a stable valley polarization state. We have observed non-equilibrium valley populations (valley-polarized electron ensembles), which in turn have been found to result in a Negative Differential Mobility (NDM).

NDM is commonly only observed in direct bandgap materials such as GaAs, InP and CdTe but our group has also observed NDM in diamond at a temperature range of 100 to 150 K. The occurrence of this phenomenon can be explained by electron repopulation, which is the scattering of electrons between different valleys. If NDM is pronounced enough, electric current instabilities build up and give rise to oscillations. By exploiting this phenomenon, a Transferred-Electron Oscillator (TEO) can be constructed for microwave applications.

Further investigations into the valley-polarized electrons seen in diamond could bring it forward as an alternative material for use in electronic devices. This use, called valleytronics, is similar to spintronics but instead of using the electron spin, the polarization in the conduction band valleys is used to transfer information. Digital electronic circuits use the presence or absence of charge to encode information which relies on a rapid redistribution of mobile charge carriers. This requires energy which results in losses and thus sets a theoretical limit to the maximum switching frequency. This is one of the main issues of electronic devices and can be mitigated by using alternative technologies such as spintronics or valleytronics.

In order to get a better understanding of the electron valley repopulation effects, the focus of this doctoral thesis is the study of electron charge transport in SC-CVD diamond at low temperatures. The thesis also aims at using valley-polarized states as a foundation for the creation of electronic devices such as TEOs or valley-transistors, out of diamond.