Amorphous Metal Tungsten Nitride and its Application for Micro and Nanoelectromechanical Applications

  • Abdulilah M. Mayet

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The objective of this doctoral thesis is to develop, engineer and investigate an amorphous metal tungsten nitride (aWNx) and to study its functionality for applications focused on electromechanical system at the nano-scale. Charge transport based solid state device oriented complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) electronics have reached a level where they are scaled down to nearly their fundamental limits regarding switching speed, off state power consumption and the on state power consumption due to the fundamental limitation of sub-threshold slope (SS) remains at 60 mV/dec. NEM switch theoretically and practically offers the steepest sub-threshold slope and practically has shown zero static power consumption due to their physical isolation originated from the nature of their mechanical operation. Fundamental challenges remain with NEM switches in context of their performance and reliability: (i) necessity of lower pull-in voltage comparable to CMOS technology; (ii) operation in ambient/air; (iii) increased ON current and decreased ON resistance; (iv) scaling of devices and improved mechanical and electrical contacts; and (v) high endurance. The “perfect” NEM switch should overcome all the above-mentioned challenges. Here, we show such a NEM switch fabricated with aWNx to show (i) sub-0.3-volt operation; (ii) operation in air and vacuum; (iii) ON current as high as 0.5 mA and ON resistance lower than 5 kΩ; (iv) improved mechanical contact; and the most importantly (v) continuous switching of 8 trillion cycles for more than 10 days with the highest switching speed is 30 nanosecond without hysteresis. In addition, tungsten nitride could be the modern life vine by fulfilling the demand of biodegradable material for sustainable life regime. Transient electronics is a form of biodegradable electronics as it is physically disappearing totally or partially after performing the required function. The fabricated aWNx suites this category very well, despite not being a universal bio-element. It has been found that aWNx dissolves in ground water with a rate of ≈ 20-60 nm h-1. This means that a 100 nm thick aWNx disappears in ground water in less than a day and three days are enough to dissolve completely a 300 nm thickness device.
Date of AwardMay 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMuhammad Mustafa Hussain (Supervisor)


  • Amorphous metal
  • Tungsten nitride
  • nanoelectromechanical switch
  • Sub-1 volt
  • Transient electronics
  • Endurance

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