Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.7868 (R. Lipperheide et al.)

The thermoballistic approach to charge carrier transport in

R. Lipperheide, U. Wille
A comprehensive survey is given of the thermoballistic approach to charge carrier transport in semiconductors. This semiclassical approach bridges the gap between the drift-diffusion and ballistic ("thermionic") models of carrier transport, whose validity is limited to the range of very small and very large values, respectively, of the carrier mean free path. The physical concept underlying the thermoballistic approach, while incorporating basic features of the drift-diffusion and ballistic descriptions, constitutes a novel, unifying scheme. It is based on the introduction of "ballistic configurations" defined by a random partitioning of the length of a semiconducting sample into ballistic transport intervals, which are linked by points of local thermodynamic equilibrium at which carriers are emitted or absorbed. By averaging the carrier currents in the ballistic intervals over all ballistic configurations, a position-dependent thermoballistic current is derived for arbitrary magnitude of the carrier mean free path. This current is the key element of the thermoballistic concept and forms the point of departure of the calculation of various transport quantities. The present article starts out with an account of the standard drift-diffusion and ballistic transport models, and of a prototype model which paves the way for the fully developed form of that concept. In the main body of the article, a coherent exposition of the thermoballistic approach is given within a general formulation that takes into account arbitrarily shaped, spin-split potential energy profiles and spin relaxation during the carrier motion across ballistic intervals. The calculational procedures devised for implementing the thermoballistic concept are described. Specific examples relevant to present-day semiconductor and spintronics research are considered.
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