Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough “Interface Tuning” is Macro Step for Microelectronics

13.06.2003


The ability to make atomic-level changes in the functional components of semiconductor switches, demonstrated by a team of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, North Carolina State University and University of Tennessee physicists, could lead to huge changes in the semiconductor industry. The results are reported in the June 13 issue of Science.


This image illustrates the concept of “Coulomb buffer,” the region between oxide (above) and silicon (below) in nanoswitches, that can be “tuned” through atomic-level manipulation for desirable semiconductor characteristics, an advance that benefits both researchers and manufacturers.



Semiconductor devices, the building blocks of computing chips that control everything from coffee makers to Mars landings, depend on microscopic solid-state transistors, tiny electronic on-off switches made of layers of metals, oxides and silicon. These switches stop and start the flow of electrons, and work themselves because of the microscopic interface between the oxide layer and the silicon layer, in the realm of individual atoms, where minute positive and negative charges determine semiconductor success or failure.

Until now, researchers – and the multibillion-dollar semiconductor industries they support – had to accept the limitations that each crucial interface contains.


But researchers at Oak Ridge, NC State and Tennessee have successfully learned to “tune” the atomic-level zone between substances, in a development that they call “a unifying concept for understanding and designing” this aspect of semiconductor physics. According to Dr. Rodney McKee at Oak Ridge, the concept arose from “a reformulation of the classic Schottky Barrier problem that will impact everything in semiconductor technology from laser diodes to field-effect transistors in high-speed logic.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science funded the team’s research. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a Department of Energy facility.

The atomic tuning, described in the paper “The Interface Phase and the Schottky Barrier for a Crystalline Dielectric on Silicon,” takes place in what Dr. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, assistant professor of physics at NC State and one of the authors of the paper, has named the “Coulomb buffer.” Here, at the boundary between silicon and oxide, there is an interface phase that is neither silicon nor oxide but its own hybrid structure.

Buongiorno Nardelli, studying this interface phase at the atomic level using high-performance computer simulations, found that the fundamental basis for this tuning was in increasing or decreasing the electronic “dipole charge” – the microscopic arrangement of positive and negative charges at the interface.

The physicists’ sophisticated experiments demonstrated that the Schottky barrier – the boundary at the edge of a substance where electrons are confined, long considered an inflexible limitation – can in fact be manipulated, and that “barrier height” is, in Buongiorno Nardelli’s words, “no longer a problem, but an opportunity.”

According to the NC State physicist, who holds a joint appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the team’s work will “change common beliefs” in the field of semiconductor physics, and could open the way for smaller, faster and smarter computers.

And manufacturers, able to tune the atomic dipoles in the Coulomb buffer for specific electronic characteristics, may find that this discovery deep in the micro-regions enables macro-steps forward in efficiency and productivity.

Mick Kulikowski | NC State University
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/03_06/166.htm

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers pave the way for ionotronic nanodevices
23.02.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor
22.02.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>