Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Elias Stefenakos


Metal-Insulator-Metal, Multi Frequency Detection, Quantum Tunneling, Sensing, Sputtering, Thin Film


Detectors and sensors are an integral part of modern electronics and are crucial to highly sensitive applications. Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) tunnel junctions have been explored for the past five decades and are still being investigated due to its wide use of applications such as mixers, capacitors, detectors, rectifiers and energy conversion devices. In this research, various designs of thin film based tunnel junctions have been investigated and the optimum one picked for the purpose of a wide band detector up to 10GHz based on their sensitivities. A modified design with an isolation layer incorporating a self-aligning method to increase fabrication throughput was developed. A mask for the reliability testing of multiple devices with different areas was also developed. Nickel Oxide based insulators with different stoichiometries have been incorporated in the fabrication of the device to identify which stoichiometry gives the best performance for high frequency applications. Nickel Oxide (NiO), Zinc Oxide (ZnO) and the combination of the two have been deposited using reactive sputtering and investigated as insulator materials. The bilayer devices showed increased sensitivities at lower turn on voltages and very good efficiencies at 100MHz and 1GHz. Although, the MIM device provides a simple structure, some of the critical parameters required to quantify the device functionality are still being explored. Based on the parameters, a criterion was developed to help engineer a tunnel device for a desired detectivity.