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 research project explicitly addresses key scientific and technological challenges that, if overcome, could lead to a possible replacement for conventional electronics made from silicon. The novel nanoelectronics platform is based upon remarkable properties of materials composed of lanthanum aluminate and strontium titanate. The interface between these two oxide materials can be switched between an insulating and a metallic state using a sharp conducting probe. Electronic circuits can be "written" and "erased" at scales approaching the distance between atoms (two nanometers). To develop useful electronics, it is imperative to develop a scheme capable of creating and manipulating large numbers of devices. This scaling is achieved through the use of large probe arrays. Each probe must be capable of addressing multiple sites, enabling complex circuits to be fabricated on a single chip, by the device itself. The oxide heterostructures need to be grown on large manufacturable substrates: this has been demonstrated with both silicon and one other material. The research project addresses many of the core requirements for a reconfigurable storage, computing, and optical sensing platform that can scale beyond what is currently possible for silicon. The interdisciplinary research team directly addresses these scientific and technological challenges with the variety of perspectives essential for the development of breakthrough technologies.
This project seeks to transform exciting scientific achievements into cutting-edge information technologies. The research directly addresses the need for scaling beyond Moore's law and has the potential to create new high-tech industries, thus creating new jobs in the US that require advanced skill sets. To help address the need for highly trained workers and researchers, a new OnRamp education program is designed that specifically targets difficulties that students have in their sub-discipline while beginning their careers. OnRamp tutorials are developed by beginning graduate students as they learn the ropes of doing research. Graduate students help develop research-based learning modules, which are shared with a broader research community. Both University of Wisconsin and University of Pittsburgh continue and expand their high school outreach programs aimed at increasing the numbers of students in underrepresented groups in science and engineering disciplines.