Electrical Engineering

Optically switched resonant-tunneling diode

Ref.-No. 5871

Keywords: Tunnel diode, transparent, optically switchable resonance tunnel diode, RTJ

Resonant-tunneling diodes are semiconductor components that, due to the quantum mechanical effect of the tunnel, have a current-voltage characteristic with a negative differential resistance. The innovative component consists of an electrically insulating substrate, a metal layer and a transition metal oxide layer with an amorphous structure. These components are constructed from a first contact layer containing aluminum, a V2O5 layer and a second electrical contact. They have the electrical characteristic that is typical of resonant-tunneling diodes with a negative differential resistance range, but remain optically transparent, regardless of the switching state.

Due to the materials and process used, resonant-tunneling diodes are easy to manufacture, robust, and particularly temperature-stable.


  • Transparent component
  • Simple manufacturing process
  • Robust layer structure
  • Scalable layer thicknesses

Commercial Application

The invention is suitable for the production of self-tunable transparent electronic switches, high-speed oscillators, and transparent memory cells or logic circuits, which are used, for example, in touchscreens and optoelectronic circuits. Its use in optical neuronal networks, smart windows and smart glass applications is particularly interesting as optically transparent switches represent an important feature in them.

A German patent application has been submitted to the DPMA. On behalf of the University of Münster, we offer interested companies the possibility of licensing and, in particular, the further development of the technology with the inventors from the University.

Status Quo

Initial laboratory samples and measuring results are available.

An invention of WWU Münster.

Dipl.-Ing. Martin van Ackeren

+49 208 9410534