Precision Manufacturing of Flexible CMOS

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Materials Science & Metallurgy

Abstract

High quality, low temperature-grown thin film metal oxides are urgently needed for a wide range of emerging electronic applications relating to the Internet of Things. Numerous energy harvesting, generation and storage devices also rely on obtaining such films. The market is huge (>$100Bn) for such devices. However, manufacturing techniques cannot deliver the required high quality oxides simultaneously with the necessary low-temperature processing.

The main focus of this proposal is to develop a manufacturing tool to rapidly synthesise, at low temperatures, high quality p-type oxides for flexible CMOS devices. Such devices are currently unavailable. The work will also have broad ramifications for the manufacturing of a wide range of oxide thin film applications beyond CMOS. The work is novel both in terms of the manufacturing tool (atmospheric vapour pressure spatial atomic layer deposition, AP-SALD) and the processing methodology (inducing surface quasi-liquids to strongly improve film crystallinity and carrier mobility). The tool and the process are together essential for enabling a step-change in the production of commercial flexible devices incorporating oxides.

We will work closely with PragmatIC, a fast growing start-up in the area, who have committed both cash and in-kind support to the project as well as with Applied Materials, a large equipment manufacturer, the world leaders in industrial ALD, who are in an excellent position and also have interest in commercialising the AP-SALD manufacturing tool.

Planned Impact

Economic Impact:
Printed logic, analogous to the silicon integrated chip, is necessary for plastic electronics to realise its forecast huge potential. In 10 years time, the plastic electronics market is expected to achieve a $100B (IDTechEx) market. However, conventional transistor design and low-performance materials severely limit development of printed logic beyond simple arrays of identical transistors currently achievable. PragmatIC are making rapid progress in the area, with their nMOS technology reaching commercialisation, and with their FlexLogIC "fab-in-a-box" pilot facility soon to be built near Sedgefield, County Durham.

The most urgent development requirement for PragmatIC is achieving CMOS. The much lower power consumption of CMOS compared to nMOS is key in many application spaces, particularly those using energy harvesting, and reducing it would greatly expand the technology's market opportunities. The key bottleneck is the lack of availability of quality p-type oxides. These first need to be developed by basic research groups. We plan to do that by combining the right manufacturing technology with the right materials processing methodology. If the project is successful, the $100Bn market could open up and PragmatIC could take the largest market share. They recently won the NMI 2015 Emerging Technology Company of the Year Award for their flextronic technologies, and with ARM and Avery Dennison investment they are now in an excellent position to grow their business. Currently, PragmatIC employs around 55 people. If this manufacturing project were successful with CMOS devices becoming commercial, up to 100 would be employed. Hence, the economy and quality of life in County Durham would be greatly improved.

Beyond the economic impact derived from PragmatIC's potential success, there is very wide economic impact in terms of developing a new manufacturing tool for growing large area, high quality oxides on flexible substrates at low temperatures. The tool would be very useful to both researchers and electronics and energy device manufacturing companies. Applied Materials, our second collaborating industry, would be interested to develop such a tool, being the world leaders in industrial ALD machines. A few $Bn market is envisaged for the manufacturing tool.

The project will train a post-doc (and associated PhD students, funded from other streams, which we plan to link to this project) in advanced materials manufacturing and processing within a world-leading research training environment. These researchers will strongly benefit the UK economy, whether they stay in academia or go to industry.

Societal impact:
A strong industrial manufacturing base in the North of the UK is important not just for the overall economy but for distributing the population and wealth evenly. A CMOS manufacturing plant in Sedgefield would help enable this.
Also, new electronic devices based on low-temperature-grown, atmospherically grown oxides would lead to great energy savings, both in the materials production and device operation. A similar situation would be the case for energy devices, i.e. solar and energy harvesting materials. Therefore, the manufacturing tool and optimised oxide films derived from it will, therefore, have a beneficial impact on the environment.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description PragmatIC 
Organisation Pragmatic Printing Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution PragmatIC are a company who we are closely working on this proposal with
Collaborator Contribution PragmatIC understand the device requirements and issues and have a strong input on this
Impact outputs are linking with other groups in the UK working on p-type oxides. Also, we are getting a full understanding of the business.
Start Year 2018
 
Description - E-MRS fall meeting, 17.-20.9.2018, Warsaw, Poland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact - E-MRS fall meeting, 17.-20.9.2018, Warsaw, Poland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description EMA 2018, January, Orlando Florida 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact EMA 2018, January, Orlando Florida
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description EMA 2019, January, Orlando Florida 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact EMA 2019, January, Orlando Florida
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description EMRS conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk on "Control of electrical properties of undoped non-stoichiometric
nickel oxide thin films grown by PEALD and AP-CVD"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description HERALD ALD-workshop for Early Career Investigators, 1.-2.3.2018, Barcelona, Spain 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact HERALD ALD-workshop for Early Career Investigators, 1.-2.3.2018, Barcelona, Spain
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description HERALD Summit, European ALD conference and HERALD COST-action meeting, 25.-29.2018, Braga, Portugal 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact HERALD Summit, European ALD conference and HERALD COST-action meeting, 25.-29.2018, Braga, Portugal
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description INFOS conference Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster on "p-type thin film transistors with ALD Cu2O channel layer"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description INNOLAE conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Poster on Optimising NiO Properties for Electronic Applications including solar cells and CMOS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Innolae 2019 conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact poster presentation on optmising NiO using ALD for flexible CMOS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk at innolae meeting in Cambridge in Jan 2018 and 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019