A tunnel field-effect transistor (TFET) for which the device operation is based upon a band-to-band tunneling mechanism is very attractive for low-power ultralarge-scale integration circuits. A detailed investigation, with the help of extensive device simulations, of the effects of a spacer dielectric on the device performance of a TFET is reported in this paper. The effects of varying the dielectric constant and width of the spacer are studied. It is observed that the use of a low-κ dielectric as a spacer causes an improvement in its on-state current. The device performance is degraded with an increase in the spacer width until a certain value (∼30 nm); after which, the dependence becomes very weak. The effects of varying the source doping concentration as well as the gate overlap/underlap are also investigated. Higher source doping or a gatesource overlap reduces the spacer dependence of the device characteristics. A gate underlap structure, however, shows an improved performance for a high-κ spacer. For a given spacer, although a gate overlap or a relatively large gate underlap degrades the device performance, a small gate underlap shows an improvement in it. © 2011 IEEE.