Quantum and spin-based tunneling devices for memory systems

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Title: Quantum and spin-based tunneling devices for memory systems
Author: Sudirgo, Stephen
Abstract: Rapid developments in information technology, such as internet, portable computing, and wireless communication, create a huge demand for fast and reliable ways to store and process information. Thus far, this need has been paralleled with the revolution in solid-state memory technologies. Memory devices, such as SRAM, DRAM, and flash, have been widely used in most electronic products. The primary strategy to keep up the trend is miniaturization. CMOS devices have been scaled down beyond sub-45 nm, the size of only a few atomic layers. Scaling, however, will soon reach the physical limitation of the material and cease to yield the desired enhancement in device performance. In this thesis, an alternative method to scaling is proposed and successfully realized. The proposed scheme integrates quantum devices, Si/SiGe resonant interband tunnel diodes (RITD), with classical CMOS devices forming a microsystem of disparate devices to achieve higher performance as well as higher density. The device/circuit designs, layouts and masks involving 12 levels were fabricated utilizing a process that incorporates nearly a hundred processing steps. Utilizing unique characteristics of each component, a low-power tunneling-based static random access memory (TSRAM) has been demonstrated. The TSRAM cells exhibit bistability operation with a power supply voltage as low as 0.37 V. Various TSRAM cells were also constructed and their latching mechanisms have been extensively investigated. In addition, the operation margins of TSRAM cells are evaluated based on different device structures and temperature variation from room temperature up to 200oC. The versatility of TSRAM is extended beyond the binary system. Using multi-peak Si/SiGe RITD, various multi-valued TSRAM (MV-TSRAM) configurations that can store more than two logic levels per cell are demonstrated. By this virtue, memory density can be substantially increased. Using two novel methods via ambipolar operation and utilization of enable/disable transistors, a six-valued MV-TSRAM cell are demonstrated. A revolutionary novel concept of integrating of Si/SiGe RITD with spin tunnel devices, magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ), has been developed. This hybrid approach adds non-volatility and multi-valued memory potential as demonstrated by theoretical predictions and simulations. The challenges of physically fabricating these devices have been identified. These include process compatibility and device design. A test bed approach of fabricating RITD-MTJ structures has been developed. In conclusion, this body of work has created a sound foundation for new research frontiers in four different major areas: integrated TSRAM system, MV-TSRAM system, MTJ/RITD-based nonvolatile MRAM, and RITD/CMOS logic circuits.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/2066
Date: 2006-07-11

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