In this paper we revisit the conventional description of carrier-phonon scattering in the presence of high electric fields by means of a gauge-invariant density-matrix approach. The proposed formulation of the transport problem allows us, on the one hand, to provide a gauge-independent formulation of Fermi’s golden rule; on the other hand, our analysis clearly shows that in the standard treatments of high-field carrier-phonon scattering—also referred to as intracollisional field effect—the possible variation of the basis states has been usually neglected. This is recognized to be the origin of the apparent discrepancy between scalar- and vector-potential treatments of the problem; indeed, a proper account of such contributions leads, in general, to an ill-defined Markov limit in the carrier-phonon interaction process, assigning to the scalar-potential or Wannier-Stark picture a privileged role. The neglect of such Zener-like contributions in the transport equation leads to a wrong estimation of the high-field voltage-current characteristics, and may partially account for the surprisingly good agreement between semiclassical and rigorous quantum-transport calculations previously reported. This is confirmed by fully three-dimensional simulations of charge transport in state-of-the-art semiconductor superlattices, which show a significant current overestimation.
|Titolo:||Gauge-invariant formulation of high-field transport in semiconductors|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2004|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1103/PhysRevB.69.165319|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|