Semiconductor companies have long relied on the shrinking of silicon complementary metal-oxide- semiconductor (CMOS) devices to improve electronic products’ performance, reduce their power consumption and decrease transistors’ cost.
However, such scaling is now reaching fundamental and economic bottlenecks. The further shrinking of CMOS devices is expected to lead to unreliable, variation- prone and more expensive electronics.
Now, scientists at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), Centre for Micro-/Nano-electronics (NOVITAS), led by Professor Tan Chuan Seng have integrated silicon, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride on a single, 200 millimetre silicon platform.
By combining the materials, which have different functionalities, on a single piece of wafer, their innovation could lead to smaller electronic devices that have more functionalities and capabilities.
For example, silicon, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride are suitable for the fabrication of digital control circuitry, high-frequency, high-electron-mobility transistor devices and high-power devices such as power amplifiers, respectively.
“Using our method, we can combine the circuitry, transistor devices and power amplifiers on a single platform to further reduce the package size at the system level,” said Professor Tan.
The researchers used a triple layer transfer process to integrate the silicon, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride on a single common silicon platform. They used plasma-activated fusion bonding partly because it can be carried out at room temperature and atmospheric pressure which is manufacturable.
They added that their success means that it is possible, in principle, to use their method to combine other III-V compounds and group IV materials on a single silicon platform.
Hybrid devices made out of silicon and III-V compounds, for instance, could compensate for silicon’s poor ability to emit light, and lead to new circuit capabilities and applications beyond communications, such as sensing and optical computation.
Professor Tan said: “The monolithic integration of inexpensive, high-density silicon digital control circuitry with application-specific III-V electronic and optical devices can open up new circuit applications and capabilities.”
By Professor Tan Chuan Seng
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Published on: 18-September-2017