Tunneling Electrical Contacts


Executive Summary


The demand for smaller and more efficient electronic devices has driven semiconductor innovation over the past decade. Researchers have studied the nano and sub-nano scale Metal-Semiconductor, Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor, and Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) junctions to develop high performance contacts for integrated circuit design. Factors such as contact resistance, tunneling, and current transport have the largest effect on contact efficiency and reduction of heat buildup within the system. As electrons flow through a contact interface, contact resistance creates a build-up of electrons, which causes heating. Contact resistance is an important factor in carbon nanotube (CNT) contact design; often resorting to doping of the CNT materials.


Description of Technology


The disclosed technology is a method of two-dimensional characterization of contact resistance and tunneling for CNT and MIM contact designs. The Transmission Line Model (TLM) is used to achieve predictive understanding of contact resistivity, current, and voltage distribution across parallel or partially overlapped contacts created from CNT and MIM alignment. Unlike previous methods that only accounted for contact length, the disclosed technology includes the variation of tunneling current, or the variation of barrier height along the contact length as well.


Key Benefits

  • Enhanced predictive power allows for improved design of nano-scale semiconductors and integrated circuits.
  • Controlling heat buildup at junction points within devices.
  • Opens new circuit design possibilities.



  • Semiconductor and Integrated Circuits
  • Contact Resistance and Tunneling Engineering
  • Semiconductor Insulating Technologies


Patent Status:


Patent Pending


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available.


Inventors: Dr. Peng Zhang, Sneha Banrjee, Dr. John Luginsland


Tech ID: TEC2018-0145


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University