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Design and Fabrication of 3D Hybrid CMOS/NEM relays technology for energy-efficient electronics

Abstract : This manuscript focuses on Nano-Electro-Mechanical (NEM) relays with electrostatic actuation for advanced logic and memory applications. The use of Nano-Electro-Mechanical relays was recently proposed for digital logic circuits in order to overcome the fundamental energy-efficiency limitations that mainstream CMOS technology is currently facing. The cumulated benefits of essentially Zero Off-State current and ultimately abrupt DC switching characteristics enable alleviating the power-performance trade-off as the supply voltage VDD is reduced. Additionally, for some particular switch designs (e.g. free of dielectric layers), an increased resistance to ionizing radiations is also anticipated, making such components valuable for defense or aerospace applications.However, NEM relays have intrinsic limitations in terms of integration density, endurance and operation frequency. Therefore, rather than considering them as technology that could replace MOSFETs, we adopt an intermediate approach that consists in using NEM relays as a complement to CMOS circuits (e.g.: buffers, non-volatile elements for SRAM and CAM), which can be fabricated in a 3D co-integration scheme. This approach mitigates the area penalty issue.The thesis explores the strength and the weakness of NEMS relays and identifies applications for which hybrid NEMS/CMOS circuits are potentially interesting.This work includes the manufacturing of prototype devices designed to be proof of concept for the identified applications. At first, NV NEM relays design and dimensioning through modelling and simulations was performed. Then NV NEM/CMOS circuits were validated trough simulations. This was followed by the tapeout and the process integration of monolithically co-integrated NEMS above CMOS. After wafer processing the devices were electrically characterized.This all-inclusive works allows identifying some crucial challenges that NEMS relays still have to face.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 12:06:12 PM
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Giulia Usai. Design and Fabrication of 3D Hybrid CMOS/NEM relays technology for energy-efficient electronics. Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019GREAT069⟩. ⟨tel-02529390⟩

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