The objective of this proposal is analyzing the feasibility of a nanoelectromechanical (NEMS) design for carbon nanotube-based memory cells at finite temperatures through both experimental validation and multiscale simulation. To achieve this objective we will do the following tasks: (1) Design and implementation of an experiment to investigate the oscillatory mechanisms of nanotube-based oscillators in order to confirm the proposed NEMS design. (2) Utilization of a hierarchical multiscale method that incorporates a temperature-related homogenization technique to analyze large models of the proposed NEMS design.
The intellectual merits of this proposal lie in the inherent challenge of designing a new NEMS capable of functioning as a memory cell at finite temperatures. The new NEMS will be achieved by coating electrodes on the outer tube of a nano-oscillator so that induced electromagnetic forces can overcome temperature-related interlayer friction. A novel nanotechnology experiment will be designed to study the oscillatory mechanisms and behavior of nanotube-based oscillators at room temperature. The experimental methodology will also serve to accelerate fabrication of the proposed high-speed memory cell design. Furthermore, the proposed experiments will validate a multiscale model of the proposed NEMS so that large memory cell models can be analyzed using a continuum approach in which temperature effects (not only room temperature but also high temperatures) will be considered. Once developed, the multiscale method can be extended as a tool for the design of other nanoscale devices. The broader impact of the proposed effort is the considerable potential for nanotechnology applications, especially in nanoelectronics. With the assistance of numerical modeling and experimental investigation, this project will form a solid basis for fabrication of a novel memory device that could be used as a building block for memory devices and logic gates beyond the capabilities of silicon-based electronics. In addition, the proposed effort also includes a training component for engineering undergraduate and graduate students in this nascent field. The PI will also involve the public education system in nanotechnology, particularly K-12 education. Hence, the proposed research will broadly impact engineering development in nanotechnology.