In gated semiconductor devices, the space charge layer that is located under the gate electrode acts as the functional element. With increasing gate voltage, the microscopic process forming this space charge layer involves the subsequent ionization or electron capture of individual dopants within the semiconductor. In this Letter, a scanning tunneling microscope tip is used as a movable gate above the (110) surface of n-doped GaAs. We study the build-up process of the space charge region considering donors and visualize the charge states of individual and multi donor systems. The charge configuration of single donors is determined by the position of the tip and the applied gate voltage. In contrast, a two donor system with interdonor distances smaller than 10 nm shows a more complex behavior. The electrostatic interaction between the donors in combination with the modification of their electronic properties close to the surface results in ionization gaps and bistable charge switching behavior.
- cross-section STM
- Space charge layer