Applied Physics Letters

Electron transport in nano-scaled piezoelectronic devices

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The Piezoelectronic Transistor (PET) has been proposed as a post-CMOS device for fast, low-power switching. In this device, the piezoresistive channel is metalized via the expansion of a relaxor piezoelectric element to turn the device on. The mixed-valence compound SmSe is a good choice of PET channel material because of its isostructural pressure-induced continuous metal insulator transition, which is well characterized in bulk single crystals. Prediction and optimization of the performance of a realistic, nano-scaled PET based on SmSe requires the understanding of quantum confinement, tunneling, and the effect of metal interface. In this work, a computationally efficient empirical tight binding (ETB) model is developed for SmSe to study quantum transport in these systems and the scaling limit of PET channel lengths. Modulation of the SmSe band gap under pressure is successfully captured by ETB, and ballistic conductance shows orders of magnitude change under hydrostatic strain, supporting operability of the PET device at nanoscale. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.