Quantum waveguide theory

Stuart Midgley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The study of nano-electronic devices is fundamental to the advancement of the semiconductor industry. As electronic devices become increasingly smaller, they will eventually move into a regime where the classical nature of the electrons no longer applies. As the quantum nature of the electrons becomes increasingly important, classical or semiclassical theories and methods will no longer serve their purpose. For example, the simplest non-classical effect that will occur is the tunnelling of electrons through the potential barriers that form wires and transistors. This results in an increase in noise and a reduction in the device?s ability to function correctly. Other quantum effects include coulomb blockade, resonant tunnelling, interference and diffraction, coulomb drag, resonant blockade and the list goes on. This thesis develops both a theoretical model and computational method to allow nanoelectronic devices to be studied in detail. Through the use of computer code and an appropriate model description, potential problems and new novel devices may be identified and studied. The model is as accurate to the physical realisation of the devices as possible to allow direct comparison with experimental outcomes. Using simple geometric shapes of varying potential heights, simple devices are readily accessible: quantum wires; quantum transistors; resonant cavities; and coupled quantum wires. Such devices will form the building blocks of future complex devices and thus need to be fully understood. Results obtained studying the connection of a quantum wire with its surroundings demonstrate non-intuitive behaviour and the importance of device geometry to electrical characteristics. The application of magnetic fields to various nano-devices produced a range of interesting phenomenon with promising novel applications. The magnetic field can be used to alter the phase of the electron, modifying the interaction between the electronic potential and the transport electrons. This thesis studies in detail the Aharonov-Bohm oscillation and impurity characterisation in quantum wires. By studying various devices considerable information can be added to the knowledge base of nano-electronic devices and provide a basis to further research. The computational algorithms developed in this thesis are highly accurate, numerically efficient and unconditionally stable, which can also be used to study many other physical phenomena in the quantum world. As an example, the computational algorithms were applied to positron-hydrogen scattering with the results indicating positronium formation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003


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