Ultrathin silicon substitute to revolutionize future electronics
London: Scientists have successfully come up with an alternative to silicon that has superior electron mobility and velocity, which makes it an outstanding candidate for future high-speed, low-power electronic devices.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC), Berkeley, have successfully integrated ultra-thin layers of the semiconductor indium arsenide onto a silicon substrate to create a nanoscale transistor with excellent electronic properties.
“We’ve shown a simple route for the heterogeneous integration of indium arsenide layers down to a thickness of 10 nanometers on silicon substrates,” said Ali Javey.
“The devices we subsequently fabricated were shown to operate near the projected performance limits of III-V devices with minimal leakage current. Our devices also exhibited superior performance in terms of current density and transconductance as compared to silicon transistors of similar dimensions,” he added.
Javey and his collaborators grew single-crystal indium arsenide thin films (10 to 100 nanometers thick) on a preliminary source substrate then lithographically patterned the films into ordered arrays of nanoribbons.
After being removed from the source substrate through a selective wet etching of an underlying sacrificial layer, the nanoribbon arrays were transferred to the silicon/silica substrate via a stamping process.
Although he and his group only used indium arsenide as their compound semiconductor, the technology should readily accommodate other compound III/V semiconductors as well.
“Future research on the scalability of our process for 8-inch and 12-inch wafer processing is needed,” Javey said.
“Furthermore, this concept can be used to directly integrate high performance photodiodes, lasers, and light emitting diodes on conventional silicon substrates. Uniquely, this technique could enable us to study the basic material properties of inorganic semiconductors when the thickness is scaled down to only a few atomic layers.”
The results of this research have been published in the journal Nature.
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