World Journal of Nano Science and Engineering, 2012, 2, 176-180
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/wjnse.2012.24023 Published Online December 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/wjnse)
Study of Two One-Dimensional Multi Tunnel Junctions
Arrays Structures by SIMON
Amine Touati, Samir Chatbouri, Nabil Sghaier, Adel Kalboussi
Laboratory of Microelectronics and Instrumentation, Faculty of Sciences of Monastir, University of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia
Received August 18, 2012; revised September 20, 2012; accepted October 4, 2012
Multi Tunnel Junctions (MTJs) have attracted much attention recently in the ﬁelds of Single-Electron Transistor (SET)
and Single-Electron Memory (SEM). In this paper, we investigate a nano-device structure using a two one dimensional
array MTJs connected to the basic Single Electron Circuits, in order to analyze the impact of physical parameters on the
performances and application of this structure. The device generates can operate at room temperature. The simulation of
single-electron circuit demonstrates with Monte Carlo simulator, SIMON.
Keywords: Multi Tunnel Junctions (MTJs); Coulomb Blockade Effect; Effective Capacitances; SIMON Simulator
As the semiconductor device feature size enters the sub-
50-nm range, two new effects come into play. One is the
quantum effect, which is rooted in the wave nature of the
charge carriers, and gives rise to non classical transport
effects such as resonant tunneling and quantum interfer-
ence. The other is related to the quantized nature of the
electronic charge, often manifested in the so-called sin-
gle-electron effect: Charging each electron to a small
conﬁned region requires a certain amount of energy in
order to overcome the Coulomb repulsion; if this charg-
ing energy is greater than the thermal energy, kBT (kB:
Boltzmann constant, T: temperature), a single electron
added to the region could have a signiﬁcant effect on
other electrons entering the conﬁned region.
Single-Electron Transistors (SETs) operate using a
Coulomb blockade, which occurs in tiny structures made
of conductive material due to electrostatic interactions
between confined electrons. There are basically two types
of SET application: memory devices  and logic func-
tions have been proposed . The small size is especially
important for memory devices; memory cells have to be
small to achieve a greater degree of integration.
Since the very early demonstration of the single-elec-
tron charging effect  a number of advances has been
made. Low temperature experiments on the single-elec-
tron turnstile  have established and proven their work-
ing principle. Single-electron devices have also been
applied to metrology, where a Coulomb blockade ther-
mometry has been proposed .
For the future ultimate application of SETs, we must
first succeed in the manipulation and the detection of a
single electron. Basic demonstrations of single-electron
transfer devices have been achieved at low temperatures,
and some have even been realized at room temperature
Raising the operating temperature as high as room
temperature means that we have to reduce the island size
of the order of a few nanometers. Although this is a
challenging issue, some devices have been demonstrated
that clearly and conclusively operate at room temperature
through the use of recent rapidly developing nanotech-
nologies. The results provide excellent prospects for the
future practical application of SETs.
The Multiple-Tunnel Junction (MTJ) consists of a one
chain of nanoscale islands and tunnel junctions. In such a
system, the single-electron charging of each island, and
the effect of excess electrons on the polarization of
neighboring tunnel junctions, modifies the Coulomb
blockade region, and the I-V characteristics of the system.
Furthermore, the single-electron charging energy of an
island embedded within a chain of islands and tunnel
barriers is also increased somewhat. The effective total
capacitance of the system can be decreased and hence the
charging energy EC and operating temperature Tmax in-
creased within the same fabrication technology by re-
placing the single junction of the transistor with short
one-dimensional (1D) arrays. This raises the maximum
temperature where single-electron effects are observed,
in comparison with a simple double tunnel junction of
similar island capacitance.
In this paper, we will concentrate on the I-V character-
istics of one 1D-MTJs and tow 1D-MTJs.
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A. TOUATI ET AL. 177
2.1. Cell Design and Description
Figure 1 shows the circuit diagram for a two 1D MTJ
with (M − 1) islands, and M tunnel junctions in first line,
and (P − 1) islands, and P tunnel junctions on the second
line. The islands are separated from each other and from
the source and drain regions at the ends, by tunnel junc-
tions with capacitance C. The remaining capacitance of
each island is represented by C, and a bias V is used to
inject electrons into the MTJ. The source is connected to
the ground. Thus will reduce the error to the order 1/MP,
where M and P are the number of junctions in parallel
and in series respectively. For numerical calculations, we
used our universal single-electronics simulation program
SIMON [8,9] based on a Monte Carlo approach.
The oxide layer separating the two MTJs is shown in
Figure 1 by a capacitor Cox. Such as approximate ex-
pression of the capacity of oxide:
The dynamics of the system are governed by the fol-
lowing equation which gives the tunneling rate of an
electron in each one of tunnel junctions by using the “or-
thodox theory”  of single electron tunnelling:
where ΔFij = ΔFi – ΔFj = –eVds is the difference between
the free energy of the initial and ﬁnal states, where Vds is
the source voltage, and RT is the tunneling resistance of
the junction. The tunneling rate of global system it is:
where Γ1,2 denote the first and second arrays respectively.
The sum is made on the M and P MTJs. The theory of
uniform one 1D arrays of tunnel junctions is well devel-
Figure 1. A circuit diagram of tow one-dimensional array of
tunnel junctions. Junction i is characterized by its tunnel
resistance RT,i and capacitance Ci in parallel and islands
have a oxide capacitance Cox,i .
oped for the case of low temperatures, kBT << Ech = e²/CΣ
[11,12]. When the temperature becomes so high that the
energy scale of thermal ﬂuctuations kBT exceeds of the
single-electron addition energy Ec, these ﬂuctuations
smear the Coulomb blockade, making the operation of
the transistor impossible. The Monte Carlo simulations
show that the tunnel junction capacitance C which is
used in the equations for one 1D array should be replaced
in the two 1D case by an effective capacitance Ceff which
is higher than the real capacitance.
Experimentally, MTJs with constant values of C and
Cox have been fabricated mainly using metal islands .
An important property of the two 1D array is that it can
be fabricated with lower resistance than a one 1D array,
even if it contains many junctions in series. For a good
functioning of the structure and to avoid degradation of
the system we must choose a high number of junctions
The charging energy of the island creates an energy
barrier which blocks the entrance of electrons into the
MTJ so that multistable states of different numbers of
electrons can be formed. The MTJ is also important in
suppressing co-tunneling effects; that is, electron tunnel-
ing simultaneously across more than one junction.
2.2. Physicals Parameters
The tunneling occurs through one tunnel junction and the
simultaneous tunneling of electrons across the other
junctions is neglected. When the tunneling through 2M
(M = P) junctions is considered, the other junctions be-
have simply as capacitors. The effective capacitance Ceff
at island is given by:
In an inﬁnite 1-D array, the capacitance between two
neighboring islands is exactly twice the capacitance of
the tunnel junctions, and this is the reason that the offset
voltage is a factor of 2 lower in a two 1-D array com-
pared to a one 1D array.
For the kth island, the potential is given by:
This may be used to write the potential at the (k – 1)th
The effective charging energy, Ec,MTJ is deﬁned simi-
larly to the usual charging energy, except the physical
capacitance is replaced with the effective capacitance:
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. WJNSE
A. TOUATI ET AL.
Applying a large enough voltage V will inject a elec-
tron into the MTJ, and a current begins to flow. The
threshold voltage when this occurs is given by:
The value of the threshold voltage is low compared to
the voltage corresponding to the sum of the individual
charging energies of the islands. This is because the ap-
plied voltage drops more across the first junction, closest
to the voltage source, due to the presence of the stray
capacitance Cox at the first island. We have further-more
assumed that the offset voltage of a two one dimensional
arrays of tunnel junctions is:
3. Simulation Results
3.1. I-V Characteristic
We will now consider the I-V characteristics of the two
1-D MTJs. As the bias V increases, the number of transi-
tions in the MTJs increases (Figure 2(b)). We consider a
simple two island MTJ, where the electron numbers on
the islands are n1 and n2 respectively. The charge state of
the MTJ without any extra electrons may be expressed as
(n1, n2) = (0, 0) . When a bias V > Vth is applied, an
electron tunnels onto the first island, creating the state (1,
0). This electron can then move through the MTJ,
through the states (0, 1) to (0, 0) as it leaves the MTJ.
However, as the applied voltage is increased, other tran-
sitions become possible, e.g. one may transition from the
state (0, 1) either to the state (0, 0) or to the state (1, 1).
These additional transitions lead to an increase in the
current. For a longer MTJ, larger numbers of transitions
The theoretical results presented give that Ceff = 0.52
aF; Ceff is lower than the total capacitance attached to an
island 2CT + Cox = 0.8 aF; and Ech,eff = 0.15 eV = 6 kBT
(kBT = 0.025 eV at 300 K), this proves that the charging
energy is much higher than the thermal energy. Therefore
increase the number of tunnel junctions network can
overcome the effect of low capacity and temperature
operating. The staircase is typically irregular, with varia-
tion in the step heights and widths. The blocking region
is more important, also when the number of junctions
increases for 2 × 7 MTJs. The threshold voltage is 0.3 V
from (Equation (8)), and from the curve it is ~0.4 V. The
current I it changes from ~1 nA (7 MTJs in parallel) to ~
5.2 nA for 3 MTJs.
For the effects of bias voltage Vds, we ﬁnd that it has a
more effect on the electron tunneling than that of the one
single electron tunneling, i.e. Single-Electron Transistor
(SET), at some favored value more than of the Coulomb
Also, the tunneling rate of global system has a new
factor so that: '
where α is factor which de-
pend on the effect of stray capacitor; with stray capaci-
tances, the change of the Gibbs free energy due to the
A typical result (Figure 3) has shown that the main
effect of the stray capacitances is to reduce the threshold
Figure 2. A SIMON (a) equivalent circuit of a device with
two 1-D MTJs consisting of 10 islands and 11 MTJs with C
= 3 × 10–19 F, Cox = 2 × 10–19 F and RT = 40 MΩ. C, Cox, and
RT represent the tunnel junctions capacitance, oxide ca-
pacitance, and tunnel resistances, respectively; (b) Drain
current vs. source-drain voltage characteristics at T = 300 K.
3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 MTJ denote the number of tunnel junctions
in each array.
Figure 3. Stray capacitor (Cs) effect on the drain current of
two 1-D device at 300 K.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. WJNSE
A. TOUATI ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. WJNSE
temperature, and the I-V curve is not looks ohmic attitude.
Also the increase in the temperature increase the conduc-
tivity and this due to excited states of the array that are
thermally populated, which contribute to the current.
voltages, whereas it has very little effect on the magni-
tude of the tunneling current [15,16]. In general, when
the stray capacitances increase, the I-V curve of the sin-
gle-electron device is shifted towards the low-voltage side.
The clear Coulomb staircase suggests a strong asym-
metry in the junctions along the MTJ, and this may be
modeled by means of a random variation in the tunnel
junction resistances RT, associated with the observed
variation in nanocrystal separation.
3.2. Temperature Effect on Device
Figure 4(a) show the behavior of I-V at 4.2 K and 300 K
for one dimensional and two dimensional arrays respec-
tively. At low temperature the curve exhibited no current
in the range of applied voltage from 0 to 0.3 V for two
1-D arrays; the Coulomb blockade (CB) region but for
one 1D we do not observe clearly the CB zone. However,
at room temperature for one dimensional device showed
a linear increase even in the zero bias regions, on the
other hand, for two one dimensional structures we can
perceiving the transistor performance. This means that
electron tunneling was suppressed because the charging
energy of the nanoparticle was sufﬁciently larger than the
thermal ﬂuctuation energy at 300 K.
3.3. Device Function with Two Gate Voltages
For the applications of that structure, such as the multiple
value logic (MVL) circuits , logic memory circuit
 and hybrid SET-MOS , we need to have a gate
or multi-gates allows more than two levels of logic. So
we have added to the circuit in the Figure 2(a), two gates
for each array; generally the two gates, one gate is used
as voltage input port and the other gate is used as thresh-
old voltage adjusting port. Single-electron current oscil-
lations are observed in the Ids-Vgs characteristics Figure 5
without degradation like we have a simple SET, the os-
cillations persist up to 300 K with an unchanged period.
The oscillation periods increase when the temperature
Then we have tried to see the effect of temperature on
the two 1-D device Figure 4(b), the CB zone is con-
tracted when the temperature increase. The conduction
current is activated at higher temperatures even at low
Figure 4. Monte Carlo simulation of the Ids-Vds characteristics (a) of one and two 1D-MTJs at 4.2 K and 300 K; (b) Tempera-
ture effect on two 1D with 7 MTJs in parallel.
Figure 5. Periodic single-electron oscillations in the Ids-Vgs characteristics of two one dimensional arrays with M = P = 6, (a)
At a constant value of T = 300 K as temperature is varied; (b) At a constant value of Vds = 0.3 V as temperature is varied.
A. TOUATI ET AL.
and drain-source voltage are increased, and decrease when
the T and Vds are decreased.
The decrease in the oscillation period with increasing
width implies an increase in the island capacitance. This
is because the gate-islands capacitances (Cs) now are
associated with the part of the electric field between the
gates and island which passes through the oxide. The
effect of the quantum dot size can be observed directly in
the single-electron characteristics, as this is proportional
to the island capacitance and therefore determines the
Coulomb gap and the current oscillation period.
We have studied the temperature influence on one of
promising single electron system that consists of two
parallel 1D arrays. A Monte Carlo simulation showed
that the stray capacitor C0 the coupling capacitor Cox, and
the bias voltage Vds play important roles to determine the
electron transport on the system. On the other hand the
tunneling rate of the system, the charging energy, and the
temperature has a direct influence on the Ceff values. Fi-
nally, the obtained results are very interesting which give
insight into the behavior of the tow one-dimensional with
both arrays (2M) should provide guideposts for future
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