Research Objectives and Approaches: The objective of this research is to seek solutions to enable further scaling of nonvolatile nanocrystal memory. The approach is to implement hetero-nanocrystals as floating gate. The concept of using hetero-nanocrystals for nonvolatile memory applications will be theoretically simulated by establishing physical models of solving the Poisson equation with quantum mechanical considerations; prototype novel self-aligned silicide/silicon and metal/silicon hetero-nanocrystal memories will be fabricated and tested; scalability of hetero-nanocrystal memories beyond the 45nm technology node will be proved.
Intellectual Merit: The project will add to the core knowledge of the technologically important material systems of silicon, metal and silicide. The study of hetero-nanocrystals will enrich the state-of-the-art knowledge on nanostructures and help discover more principles of the bottom-up nanofabrication technique: self-assembly. The incorporation of hetero-nanocrystals into metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor memories will also enrich the knowledge of nanoelectronic devices, particularly nonvolatile memories.
Broader Impacts: The project involves curriculum activities that will help the Electrical Engineering department of UCR to develop an education specialization area with emphasis on experimental nanotechnology components. The project will train female and underrepresented graduate/undergraduate students to understand fundamentals and gain hands-on experience of nanostructures and memories. K-12 students/teachers will be involved through ongoing nanotechnology summer programs. The successful demonstration of this work can stimulate memory industry to produce denser integrated memory arrays using the concepts to replace present commercialized ones to facilitate people's daily lives.