In semiconducting materials with current controlled negative differential conductivity an inhomogeneous current density distribution can arise leading to a well-defined spatial pattern in the form of current filaments. Detailed experiments are performed on silicon pin diodes showing a pronounced multistability in the current voltage characteristics. By using the voltage contrast and the electron beam induced voltage (EBIV) methods in a SEM, it is confirmed that each jump in the current is accompanied with the formation or disappearance of a well defined transverse electrical structure between the two contacts as a result of a current filament. This non-uniform state of the material is found to exhibit a clear solitary structure. The observed voltage oscillations are traced back to instabilities of this spatial structure.
Baumann, H.; Pioch, T.; Dahmen, H.; and Jäger, D.
"Current Filament Formation in Gold Compensated Silicon Pin Diodes,"
Scanning Electron Microscopy: Vol. 1986
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/electron/vol1986/iss2/11