We report electrical conductivity studies of highly-doped GaAs pn diodes containing a strongly n-doped low-temperature-grown (LT)–GaAs layer and pn junctions containing an approximately one monolayer thick ErAs layer. At room temperature, current densities of 1 kA/cm2 for the n-LT–GaAs samples and 6 kA/cm2 for the ErAs samples at 1 V forward bias have been measured. The I–V characteristics under forward bias for the n-LT–GaAs and ErAs samples exhibit significantly different behavior. At low temperatures, the n-LT–GaAs samples reveal a shoulder in the I–V characteristics, which can be explained by a model taking into account tunneling of carriers into LT midgap states. A similar model was able to explain the current transport in the ErAs diodes as tunneling of carriers into metallic regions inside the pn junction. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.