Transformational Electronics: Towards Flexible Low-Cost High Mobility Channel Materials

  • Joanna M. Nassar

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


For the last four decades, Si CMOS technology has been advancing with Moore’s law prediction, working itself down to the sub-20 nm regime. However, fundamental problems and limitations arise with the down-scaling of transistors and thus new innovations needed to be discovered in order to further improve device performance without compromising power consumption and size. Thus, a lot of studies have focused on the development of new CMOS compatible architectures as well as the discovery of new high mobility channel materials that will allow further miniaturization of CMOS transistors and improvement of device performance. Pushing the limits even further, flexible and foldable electronics seem to be the new attractive topic. By being able to make our devices flexible through a CMOS compatible process, one will be able to integrate hundreds of billions of more transistors in a small volumetric space, allowing to increase the performance and speed of our electronics all together with making things thinner, lighter, smaller and even interactive with the human skin. Thus, in this thesis, we introduce for the first time a cost-effective CMOS compatible approach to make high-k/metal gate devices on flexible Germanium (Ge) and Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) platforms. In the first part, we will look at the various approaches in the literature that has been developed to get flexible platforms, as well as we will give a brief overview about epitaxial growth of Si1-xGex films. We will also examine the electrical properties of the Si1-xGex alloys up to Ge (x=1) and discuss how strain affects the band structure diagram, and thus the mobility of the material. We will also review the material growth properties as well as the state-of-the-art results on high mobility metal-oxide semiconductor capacitors (MOSCAPs) using strained SiGe films. Then, we will introduce the flexible process that we have developed, based on a cost-effective “trench-protect-release-reuse” approach, utilizing the industry’s most used bulk Si (100) wafers, and discuss how it has been used for getting flexible and semi-transparent SiGe and Ge platforms. Finally, we examine the electrical characteristics of our materials through the fabrication of high-k/metal gate MOSCAPs with SiGe and Ge as channel material. We present their electrical performance on both non- flexible and flexible platform and discuss further improvement that has to be made in order to get better behaving devices for future MOSFET fabrication.
Date of AwardMay 2014
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMuhammad Mustafa Hussain (Supervisor)


  • Flexible
  • Silicon Germanium
  • Germanium
  • High Mobility
  • Cost-Effective

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