Intellectual Merit: 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. Continuing evolution of electronics beyond the limits of the conventional silicon technology requires innovative approaches for solving the heat dissipation, speed and scaling issues. Alternative state variables other than dissipative charge transfer hold promise for drastic improvements in computational power. Collective states of magnetization, spin waves, and exciton condensates are being considered, but, to date, the performance results are modest. This project proposes a revolutionary new approach for the collective states that carry electrical signals, do not require magnetic fields, and can be realized at room temperature. The alternative state variables will be implemented with charge-density waves. The charge-density wave effects have been known for decades but never considered for information processing. The intellectual merit of this project includes better understanding of the material properties and physical processes of charge-density wave materials in highly-scaled, low-dimension regimes that have not yet been explored. The results of the project will lead to optimized device designs for exploiting charge-density waves and accurate understanding of the fundamental limits of the performance metrics. The intellectual merit also includes performance evaluation of the low-noise topological insulator interconnects proposed as part of new architectures. The project will result in new knowledge of the properties of the charge-density wave materials obtained with the help of optical microscopy, atomic-force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and other techniques.
Broader Impact: The proposed project will lead to a revolutionary new technology for replacing or complementing conventional silicon complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology. The phase, frequency and amplitude of the collective current of the interfering charge waves will encode information and allow for massive parallelism in information processing. The possibility of using the phase for logic operations allows one to minimize the required number of elements per circuit, reduce the power consumption, and ease the scaling requirement. The charge-density wave devices will be implemented with an alternative growth technique ? electrochemical atomic layer deposition ? with demonstrated potential for synthesis of crystalline atomically-thin layers of pertinent materials. The technique will allow the research team to experiment with new chemistries and heterogeneous integration of a variety of charge-density wave materials. The low-dissipation, massively parallel information processing with the collective state variables can satisfy the computational, communication, and sensor technology requirements for decades to come. The successful project will (i) improve the economic competitiveness of the United States; (ii) contribute to national security; and (iii) increase participation of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. The project will result in improved student education and training at the University of California ? Riverside, a minority serving institution with a large Hispanic student population. The broader impact includes contributions to the development of a synergetic interdisciplinary Materials Science and Education program, as well as contributions to graduate and undergraduate training focused on materials synthesis, at the University of Georgia.