This paper examines the validity of the widely used parabolic effective-mass approximation for computing the current–voltage ( – ) characteristics of silicon nanowire transistors (SNWTs). The energy dispersion relations for unrelaxed Si nanowires are first computed by using an 3 5 tight-binding (TB) model. A seminumerical ballistic field-effect transistor model is then adopted to evaluate the – characteristics of the (n-type) SNWTs based on both a TB dispersion relation and parabolic energy bands. In comparison with the TB approach, the parabolic effective-mass model with bulk effective-masses significantly overestimates SNWT threshold voltages when the wire width is 3 nm, and ON-currents when the wire width is 5 nm. By introducing two analytical equations with two tuning parameters, however, the effective-mass approximation can well reproduce the TB – results even at a 1 36-nm wire width.


Bandstructure, effective-mass, field-effect transistor (FET), nanoire, nonparabolicity, quantum confinement, tight binding

Date of this Version

July 2005