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Transmission through semiconductor heterojunction

  1. Mar 31, 2015 #1
    I have calculated the electron transmission function T(E) over a potential step of height V0 using T-matrices. I model a semiconductor heterojunction, which requires different effective electron masses on either side of the step.

    The wave functions on either side of the step are planar waves:


    where A=1, B=r, C=t, D=0 and

    k1 = sqrt(2m1E/hbar),
    k2 = sqrt(2m2(E-V0)/hbar).

    We have 2 boundary conditions at the step at x = x0:

    Y1(x0) = Y2(x0),
    1/m1*d/dxY1(x0) = 1/m2*d/dxY2(x0).

    Note that the second boundary condition is not the standard one, since we have to account for the different masses, in order to have current conservation.

    I calculate the T-matrix M and get the transmitted wave amplitude

    t = (M(1,1)*M(2,2)-M(1,2)*M(2,1)) / M(2,2).

    I then calculate the transmission flux

    T(E) = (k2m1)/(k1m2)*abs(t)^2.

    When plotting T(E) it only approaches unity for increasing E, if the masses are equal. If they are not equal T(E) approaches a value less than unity.

    I'm just wondering if this result is correct? Is there always some reflection at a heterojunction potential step with different effective electron masses, even for very large energies?


    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Sounds plausible to me as k's are directly proportional to ##m^{1/2}##.
    Same as for light reflection when refractive indices n1 and n2 are different.
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