Band-to-band impact ionization by hot electrons and holes is an important process in high-field transport in semiconductors, leading to carrier multiplication and avalanche breakdown. Here we perform first principles calculations for the respective microscopic scattering rates of both electrons and holes in various wide band gap semiconductors. The impact ionization rates themselves are calculated directly from the electronic band structure derived from empirical pseudopotential calculations for cubic GaN, ZnS, and SrS. In comparison with the electron rates, a cutoff in the hole rate is found due to the relatively narrow valence bandwidths in these wide band gap semiconductors, which correspondingly reduces hole initiated carrier multiplication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)