Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Next-Generation Nanoelectronics: A Decade of Progress, Coming Advances

04.05.2012
Traditional silicon-based integrated circuits are found in many applications, from large data servers to cars to cell phones. Their widespread integration is due in part to the semiconductor industry’s ability to continue to deliver reliable and scalable performance for decades.
However, while silicon-based circuits continue to shrink in size in the relentless pursuit of Moore’s Law — the prediction that the number of transistors that can fit on an integrated circuit doubles every two years — power consumption is rising rapidly. In addition, conventional silicon electronics do not function well in extreme environments such as high temperatures or radiation.

In an effort to sustain the advance of these devices while curbing power consumption, diverse research communities are looking for hybrid or alternative technologies. Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switch technology is one option that shows great promise.

“NEM switches consist of a nanostructure (such as a carbon nanotube or nanowire) that deflects mechanically under electrostatic forces to make or break contact with an electrode,” said Horacio Espinosa, James N. and Nancy J. Farley Professor in Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

NEM switches, which can be designed to function like a silicon transistor, could be used either in standalone or hybrid NEM-silicon devices. They offer both ultra-low power consumption and a strong tolerance of high temperatures and radiation exposure.

Given their potential, the past decade has seen significant attention to the development of both hybrid and standalone NEM devices. This decade of progress is reviewed by Espinosa’s group in the current issue of journal Nature Nanotechnology. Their review provides a comprehensive discussion of the potential of these technologies, as well as the primary challenges associated with adopting them.

For example, one longstanding challenge has been to create arrays of millions of the nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes, that are used to make these NEM devices. (For perspective, modern silicon electronics can have billions of transistors on a single chip.) The researchers’ review describes the methods demonstrated to date to create these arrays, and how they may provide a path to realizing hybrid NEM-CMOS devices on a mass scale.

Similarly, while individual NEM devices show extremely high performance, it has proven difficult so far to make them operate reliably for millions of cycles, which is necessary if they are to be used in consumer electronics. The review details the various modes of failure and describes promising methods for overcoming them.

An example of the advances that facilitate improved robustness of NEM switch technologies is reported in the current issue of Advanced Materials. Here Espinosa and his group show how novel material selection can greatly improve the robustness of both hybrid NEM-CMOS and standalone NEM devices.

“NEM devices with commonly-used metal electrodes often fail by one of a variety of failure modes after only a few actuation cycles,” said Owen Loh, a PhD student at Northwestern University and co-author of the paper, currently at Intel.

Simply by replacing the metal electrodes with electrodes made from conductive diamond-like carbon films, the group was able to dramatically improve the number of cycles these devices endure. Switches that originally failed after fewer than 10 cycles now operated for 1 million cycles without failure. This facile yet effective advance may provide a key step toward realizing the NEM devices whose potential is outlined in the recent review.

The work reported in Advanced Materials was a joint collaboration between Northwestern University, the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories, and the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratories. Funding was provided by the National Science
Foundation, the Army Research Office, The U.S. Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research.

“Ultimately, realizing next-generation hybrid NEM-CMOS devices will enable continued scaling of the electronics that power numerous systems we encounter on a daily basis,” Espinosa said. “At the same time, it will require continued push from the engineering, basic sciences, and materials science communities.”

Read "Nanoelectromagnetic contact switches" in Nature Nanotechnology.

Read "Carbon-Carbon Contacts for Robust Nanoelectromechanical Switches" in Advanced Materials.

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Silicon as a new storage material for the batteries of the future
24.04.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes
19.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>