Avalanche Breakdown in Silicon
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A review of recent theoretical and experimental work in the field of avalanche breakdown in silicon is given. By using Baraff’s  theoretical curves, one can interpret measurements of current multiplication. The majority of junctions contain points of lower breakdown voltage, the so-called microplasmas. It can be shown that these microplasmas are correlated with crystal imperfections, most likely oxide precipitates. Multiplication measurements with very small light spots can be used to determine the effective area of microplasmas. A model describing most properties of microplasmas has been developed. Techniques for the fabrication of microplasma-free junctions have also been developed. It has been shown that there is no basic difference in the mechanism governing breakdown in microplasmas and microplasma-free junctions. Striations of resistivity in the crystal material were discovered by means of light emission from microplasma-free junctions.
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