This project is awarded under the Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond competition, with support by multiple Directorates and Divisions at the National Science Foundation as well as by the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corporation.
The goal of this project is to create a new generation of low-power, high on-off current ratio, fast response switches. Field effect transistor (FET) switches are ubiquitous in the semiconductor industry, yet conventional FETs are constrained by the fundamental size, power and speed limits of electrons moving through silicon channels and manipulated by electrostatic gates. This project focuses on creating transistors that bypass these limits by incorporating novel channel and gate materials, and in which exotic electronic states can be manipulated. In particular, transistors are created by integrating high-mobility two-dimensional electronic channels - such as exist in a single atomic layer of carbon, or graphene - with multifunctional (e.g., electro-mechanical, magnetic) gates. These devices are then used to investigate enhanced switching capabilities - including those possessing novel charge-accumulating and storage characteristics, the use of low-loss collective excitations as a replacement to dissipative charge transport in FETs, and the development of large fan-out switches based on these concepts. The device architecture envisioned in this project provides an adaptable and reconfigurable platform capable of meeting multiple application demands and evolving with time to provide a test-bed for next generation computing, data storage, and sensing devices. Results will be achieved by close collaborations within a multidisciplinary team of materials scientists, chemists, and physicists from three universities (Drexel University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Pennsylvania), who work together on first principles-based materials design, measurements, device fabrication and analysis.
The success of this project can lead to a new paradigm in future nanoelectronics with impact on many applications of technological and economic importance. Concepts developed here enable devices having multiple capabilities and re-configurability, and therefore high functional density that may be attractive for computing, data storage, sensor, and other technologies. The combination of computational approaches, materials synthesis, characterization and nano-fabrication targeted at bringing together novel materials - such as graphene and multifunctional oxides - is expected to bridge multidisciplinary areas, thus opening up exciting opportunities to discover new phenomena. The multi-faceted challenges to be tackled in this project provide ample educational and training opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students for emerging interdisciplinary fields. Leveraging PIs' ongoing efforts and involvements in organizations promoting diversity, students from underrepresented groups are aggressively recruited with the aid of multi-campus summer research opportunities to be created through this project. The PIs are also dedicated to bringing the state-of-the-art research into the classroom, and advances made here enrich curricula of courses that the PIs teach. With the aid of extensive outreach infrastructure available across the three institutions involved, the PIs leverage results from this project to advocate nanoscience and technology to groups ranging from high school students and teachers to the general public.