A transverse tunnelling field-effect transistor made from a van der Waals heterostructure


Semiconductor devices that rely on quantum tunnelling could be of use in logic, memory and radiofrequency applications. Tunnel devices that exhibit negative differential resistance typically follow an operating principle in which the tunnelling current contributes directly to the drive current. Here, we report a tunnelling field-effect transistor made from a black phosphorus/Al2O3/black phosphorus van der Waals heterostructure in which the tunnelling current is in the transverse direction with respect to the drive current. Through an electrostatic effect, this tunnelling current can induce a drastic change in the output current, leading to a tunable negative differential resistance with a peak-to-valley ratio of more than 100 at room temperature. Our device also exhibits abrupt switching, with a body factor (the relative change in gate voltage with respect to that of the surface potential) that is one-tenth of the Boltzmann limit for conventional transistors across a wide temperature range.

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Fig. 1: Device structure and characterization.
Fig. 2: Four-terminal tunnel device with NDR.
Fig. 3: Tunable NDR behaviour.
Fig. 4: Abrupt switching in TT-FETs.
Fig. 5: Abrupt switching at various temperatures.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 91964106 and 61874162), the 111 Project (B18001) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant XDB30000000). We thank the staff at the Center of Micro-fabrication and Characterization of Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics and Huazhong University of Science and Technology Analytical and Testing Center for support with electron-beam lithography, electron-beam evaporation and transmission electron microscopy.

Author information

Y.W. proposed and supervised the project. Y.W., X.X. and M.H. designed the experiment. X.X. and M.H. performed device fabrication and characterization. B.H. performed the simulations. X.L., F.L., S.L., M.T., T.L. and J.S. assisted with device fabrication and discussions. X.X., M.H. and Y.W. analysed the data and co-wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Correspondence to Yanqing Wu.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–16, Note 1 and Table 1.

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Xiong, X., Huang, M., Hu, B. et al. A transverse tunnelling field-effect transistor made from a van der Waals heterostructure. Nat Electron 3, 106–112 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-019-0364-5

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