Carbon-based Nanoelectronic Devices for Space Applicatoins

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The microelectronics industry based on Silicon (Si) continues to push the limits on scaling, which has created unique opportunities for nanoscale materials, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs). We will describe our work conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in developing nano-electronic devices based on CNTs and CNFs for four application areas: 1) Nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) dc switches; 2) NEM resonators; 3) CNT physical sensors; 4) optical absorbers. In the first application area, in order to overcome the limitations of Si transistors as a result of shrinking device dimensions, NEM switches are gaining increasing attention due to their potential for low-power, high-speed and low-leakage current operation. We will describe our work in developing dc NEM switches based on laterally and vertically-oriented CNTs and CNFs. In the latter area, we have employed nanomanipulation to characterize the properties of individual, as-grown, vertically-oriented tubes, which suggests such structures have promise in nonvolatile memory applications (Fig. 1). Finite element models were also developed for the switches, which includes results from Monte Carlo Simulations (Fig. 2a), and where the experimentally obtained pull-in voltages appeared to be in close agreement to the simulations. In the second application area of mechanical resonators, we will present our modeling work on mechanical resonators based on a three-dimensional architecture. These resonators were modeled using a commercially available finite-element-simulator, where the electro-mechanical coupling of the CNT was examined as a function of an incoming AC signal on a probe in close proximity to the tube (Fig. 2b). Such resonators are of interest for communications and mass-sensing applications. In the third application area, we will present our work in developing miniaturized CNT-based pressure sensors which can be utilized with micro-cavities (vacuum micro-electronics, RF MEMS, gyroscopes, etc). , Finally, in the fourth application area, we will describe our work in developing optical absorbers based on vertically-oriented tubes which are gaining increasing attention as ideal black-bodies. The absorption characteristics are engineered by adjusting growth parameters of such bottom-up synthesized structures.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2010: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational
Published: June 21, 2010
Pages: 304 - 307
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 978-1-4398-3402-2