Until now, this strain remained difficult to observe. Now, thanks to a new electron holography technique (1) invented by researchers at the Centre d’élaboration de matériaux et d’études structurales (CEMES-CNRS), it is possible to map deformation in a crystal lattice with a precision and resolution never previously attained.
This new patented measurement device overcomes nearly all the limitations of current methods. It should enable manufacturers to improve microprocessor production methods and to optimize future computers. This work is published in the June 19, 2008 issue of the journal Nature.
“Strained” silicon is a fundamental component of all recent microprocessors. The reason for its success is that local strain-induced deformation in the crystal lattice improves processor performance. The deformation significantly increases electron mobility, making it possible to boost computer speed and reduce energy consumption. However, since manufacturers could not analyze deformation accurately, they didn’t have complete mastery of chip design. They essentially relied on simulations and monitoring of performance without ever truly knowing the strain state. This problem has now been resolved, thanks to a new strain measurement method developed by a CNRS team in Toulouse.
Based on electron holography, the technique certainly has appeal: it makes it possible to measure deformation (compression, tension, and shear strain) in numerous materials with high precision and spatial resolution. Precision exceeds 0.1%, or 0.5 picometers (2) and spatial resolution is on the nanometer scale. But the real innovation compared to traditional techniques is that it is makes it possible to analyze larger areas (a micrometer rather than the previous 100 nanometers) with a level of precision never reached before.
This measurement technique offers further advantages. It makes it possible to study samples that are ten times thicker than previous samples (300 nm), which guarantees that observations are accurate. The thicker the sample, the less the strain is relaxed, and the closer the measured stain is to that of a real system. In addition, the measurements are taken directly, unlike other techniques that require a certain number of preliminary simulations.
This technique, patented by CNRS in September 2007, will in all likelihood become the leading method for measuring crystal lattice strain at the nanometer scale. It will optimize strain modeling in transistors and enhance their electrical efficiency.
(1) Electron holography is a technique for measuring magnetic and electric fields. The new configuration designed by the CEMES (CNRS) researchers can measure deformations in crystal lattices.
(2) A picometer equals 10-12 m.
Julien Guillaume | alfa
Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy