Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Silicon-Germanium Chip Sets New Speed Record

18.02.2014
A research collaboration consisting of IHP-Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics in Germany and the Georgia Institute of Technology has demonstrated the world's fastest silicon-based device to date.

The investigators operated a silicon-germanium (SiGe) transistor at 798 gigahertz (GHz) fMAX, exceeding the previous speed record for silicon-germanium chips by about 200 GHz.

Although these operating speeds were achieved at extremely cold temperatures, the research suggests that record speeds at room temperature aren't far off, said professor John D. Cressler, who led the research for Georgia Tech. Information about the research was published in February of 2014, by IEEE Electron Device Letters.

"The transistor we tested was a conservative design, and the results indicate that there is significant potential to achieve similar speeds at room temperature – which would enable potentially world-changing progress in high-data-rate wireless and wired communications, as well as signal-processing, imaging, sensing and radar applications," said Cressler, who hold the Schlumberger Chair in electronics in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Moreover, I believe that these results also indicate that the goal of breaking the so-called ‘terahertz barrier’ – meaning, achieving terahertz speeds in a robust and manufacturable silicon-germanium transistor -- is within reach."

Meanwhile, Cressler added, the tested transistor itself could be practical as is for certain cold-temperature applications. In particular, it could be used in its present form for demanding electronics applications in outer space, where temperatures can be extremely low.

IHP, a research center funded by the German government, designed and fabricated the device, a heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) made from a nanoscale SiGe alloy embedded within a silicon transistor. Cressler and his Georgia Tech team, including graduate students Partha S. Chakraborty, Adilson Cordoso and Brian R. Wier, performed the exacting work of analyzing, testing and evaluating the novel transistor.

“The record low temperature results show the potential for further increasing the transistor speed toward THz at room temperature. This could help enable applications of Si-based technologies in areas in which compound semiconductor technologies are dominant today. At IHP, B. Heinemann, H. Rücker, and A. Fox supported by the whole technology team working to develop the next THz transistor generation,” according to Bernd Tillack, who is leading the technology department at IHP in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.

Silicon, a material used in the manufacture of most modern microchips, is not competitive with other materials when it comes to the extremely high performance levels needed for certain types of emerging wireless and wired communications, signal processing, radar and other applications. Certain highly specialized and costly materials – such as indium phosphide, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride – presently dominate these highly demanding application areas.

But silicon-germanium changes this situation. In SiGe technology, small amounts of germanium are introduced into silicon wafers at the atomic scale during the standard manufacturing process, boosting performance substantially.

The result is cutting-edge silicon-germanium devices such as the IHP Microelectronics 800 GHz transistor. Such designs combine SiGe's extremely high performance with silicon's traditional advantages -- low cost, high yield, smaller size and high levels of integration and manufacturability -- making silicon with added germanium highly competitive with the other materials.

Cressler and his team demonstrated the 800 GHz transistor speed at 4.3 Kelvins (452 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit). This transistor has a breakdown voltage of 1.7 V, a value which is adequate for most intended applications.

The 800 GHz transistor was manufactured using IHP’s 130-nanometer BiCMOS process, which has a cost advantage compared with today’s highly-scaled CMOS technologies. This 130 nm SiGe BiCMOS process is offered by IHP in a multi-project wafer foundry service.

The Georgia Tech team used liquid helium to achieve the extremely low cryogenic temperatures of 4.3 Kelvins in achieving the observed 798 GHz speeds. "When we tested the IHP 800 GHz transistor at room temperature during our evaluation, it operated at 417 GHz," Cressler said. "At that speed, it's already faster than 98 percent of all the transistors available right now."

Contacts:
Dr. Wolfgang Kissinger
IHP
Im Technologiepark 25
15236 Frankfurt (Oder)
Germany
Email: kissinger@ihp-microelectronics.com
John Toon
Georgia Institute of Technology
177 North Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30332-0181
USA
(404) 894-6986

Dr. Wolfgang Kissinger | idw
Further information:
http://www.ihp-microelectronics.com

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Simulation and Virtual Reality: Virtual Trade Fair Tour on the Smartphone
27.04.2015 | Siemens AG

nachricht A silver lining
24.04.2015 | University of California - Santa Barbara

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Strong Evidence – New Insight in Muscle Function

27.04.2015 | Life Sciences

The Future of Oil and Gas: Last of Her Kind

27.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny Lab Devices Could Attack Huge Problem of Drug-Resistant Infections

27.04.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>