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One‐side bound states are very important in vertical resonant tunneling devices which contain either lightly doped spacers or a small band‐gap pseudomorphic layer adjacent to the barriers. By a proper choice of the boundary conditions, these states are modeled by stationary wave functions which contain the relevant information of the quasi‐two‐dimensional system under steady‐state conditions. In particular, the wave functions allow the calculation of their contributions to the self‐consistent charge density and the electrical current. In qualitative agreement with experimental results, it is demonstrated that the main resonant features of the current–voltage characteristic of these devices are due to resonant tunneling from an emitter two‐dimensional electron gas. Finally, the proposed model is compared with a previous picture of other authors. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.