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Heterostructure bipolar transistors and integrated circuits

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1 Author(s)
Kroemer, Herbert ; University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Two new epitaxial technologies have emerged in recent years (molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD)), which offer the promise of making highly advanced heterostructures routinely available. While many kinds of devices will benefit, the principal and first beneficiary will be bipolar transistors. The underlying central principle is the use of energy gap variations beside electric fields to control the forces acting on electrons and holes, separately and independently of each other. The resulting greater design freedom permits a re-optimization of doping levels and geometries, leading to higher speed devices. Microwave transistors with maximum oscillation frequencies above 100 GHz and digital switching transistors with switching times below 10 ps should become available. An inverted transistor strucure with a smaller collectors on top and a larger emitter on the bottom becomes possible, with speed advantages over the common "emitter-up" design. Double-heterostructure (DH) transistors with both wide-gap emitters and collectors offer additional advantages. They exhibit better performance under saturated operation. Their emitters and collectors may be interchanged by simply changing biasing conditions, greatly simplifying the architecture of bipolar IC's. Examples of heterostructure implementations of I2L and ECL are discussed. The present overwhelming dominance of the compound semiconductor device field by FET's is likely to come to an end, with bipolar devices assuming an at least equal role, and very likely a leading one.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:70 ,  Issue: 1 )