Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough 'Interface Tuning' Is Macro Step For Microelectronics

Date:
June 13, 2003
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
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 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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Breakthrough 'Interface Tuning' Is Macro Step For Microelectronics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030613074554.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2003, June 13). Breakthrough 'Interface Tuning' Is Macro Step For Microelectronics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030613074554.htm
North Carolina State University. "Breakthrough 'Interface Tuning' Is Macro Step For Microelectronics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030613074554.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

Tesla 'Insane Mode' Gives Unsuspecting Passengers the Ride of Their Life

RightThisMinute (Jan. 29, 2015) If your car has an "Insane Mode" then you know it&apos;s fast. Well, these unsuspecting passengers were in for one insane ride when they hit the button. Tesla cars are awesome. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Now Bill Gates Is 'Concerned' About Artificial Intelligence

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Bill Gates joins the list of tech moguls scared of super-intelligent machines. He says more people should be concerned, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins