Nonvolatile atom transistors and low-power logic systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Electronics and Computer Science

Abstract

The aim of this project is to design and demonstrate novel non-volatile and extremely low-power logic systems by hybridizing the newly developed three-terminal metal oxide device, Atom Transistor and nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) systems for future beyond von Neumann computing. The hybrid systems are investigated theoretically and experimentally using world-leading nanotechnologies of the NIMS team in Japan and the Southampton team in the UK. The operation of the systems is studied both on the device and circuit levels by using a multi-scale hybrid modelling. Basic circuits such as inverters and power management systems are designed utilizing the unique characteristics of the Atom Transistors and NEM switches. The duality of volatile and non-volatile operations of the Atom Transistors enables to design a new type of non-volatile logic systems which is similar to neurons in the brain. A novel bistable sleep transistor is also designed based on the recently developed suspended-gate silicon nanodot memory (SGSNM) technology for advanced power management architectures. Prototyping the systems is carried out jointly by transferring samples as well as technologies between the two teams, and electrical testing the circuits is conducted using state-of-the-art characterization tools at Southampton Nanofabrication Centre. The first demonstration of the revolutionary non-volatile logic systems towards information technology in the next generation will provide opportunities to companies for further development and commercialisation in both Japan and the UK. This will thereafter contribute to further enhance the existing economic relations between the two countries as well as strengthening their economies.

Planned Impact

The impact of non-volatile hybrid atom transistors will usher new computing devices, where logical operations and memorisation will be achieved simultaneously mimicking those in human brain. The result is a high performance and low power device that could open new research frontier in high density information processing, in particular, a new type of programmable logic systems based on CMOS-Molecular (CMOL) architecture. This is highlighted in the latest ITRS 2010 update / ERD chapter as well as in the UK government's vision for nanotechnologies where emphasis is placed in development and being world leader in nanotechnology research. Impact from new technological discoveries will be widely shared with beneficiaries in the public, third party and industrial sectors. The engagement with industry is to stimulate the commercial and manufacturing activities in the UK. The UK-Japan research collaboration would enable the UK and Japan to be the centre for the development of supra high performance computing systems beyond the von Neumann computer architecture. The academic-industrial partnership could spark a new computing revolution in the 21st century. The proposed project has the embodiment of fundamental and application driven activities and outcomes from this project will greatly benefit the society and economy of the UK and Japan.
 
Description A novel nanoscale electromechanically actuated switching device which features fast, nonvolatile and energy reversible switching was designed and its detailed fabrication process and test strategy was set out for hybrid nonvolatile logic systems. A prototype nonvolatile atom transistors with N-MOS type characteristics were also developed successfully at NIMS in Japan.
Exploitation Route Both NEM switching transistors and atom transistors are fabricated using conventional silicon process technologies, and therefore their design and fabrication process are extremely valuable to scientists, engineers and manufacturers working on emerging logic and memory devices, in particular ferroelectric logic devices, SpinFETs and ReRAMs.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy

 
Description A novel nanoscale electromechanically actuated switching device which features fast, nonvolatile and energy reversible switching was designed and its detailed fabrication process and test strategy was set out for hybrid nonvolatile logic systems. Beneficiaries: Scientists, engineers and manufacturers working on emerging nonvolatile and low-power logic and memory systems, in particular ferroelectric logic devices, SpinFETs and ReRAMs.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description Nonvolatile atom transistors and low-power logic systems 
Organisation National Institute for Materials Sciences
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Atomic Switches and Atom Transistor
Start Year 2011