Accurately measuring current-voltage characteristics of tunnel diodes

Mingqiang Bao, Kang L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides an approach to monitor oscillation status in tunnel diode measurement circuits-by measuring the second derivative of the current-voltage (I-V) characteristic curve while doing I-V curve measurement. The method of using the second derivative to detect oscillations works even when the oscillation frequency is ultrahigh or the oscillation amplitude is very small, e.g., below 10 mV. In this paper, the experimental principle of the tunneling spectroscopy was extended to measurement circuits with the presence of internal oscillations, in contrast to the conventional tunneling spectroscopy, which normally does not deal with internal oscillation. The numerical relationships between the measured average values of transient derivatives and the derivatives of the average current are derived: The average values of the transient first and second derivatives are shown to equal the derivatives of the average current. These relationships serve as the foundation for the authors' experiments. The typical oscillation characteristics in the curves of the first and the second derivatives are used to detect the presence of oscillations and the bias voltage range of oscillation in the I-V curve. The monitor of oscillation status during measurements provides the tester the confidence in the measurement data and whether it is necessary to improve the test circuit further. Finally, benefited from free-of-oscillation, the indirect tunneling current contributions arising by 121-mV (TO + O) two-phonon combination, 144-mV (TA + O + O) and 181-mV (TO + O + O) three-phonon combinations at the negative differential resistance region are observed from a silicon Esaki tunnel diode at 4.2 K.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2564-2568
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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