Vertical InAs Nanowire Devices and RF Circuits
Abstract: Recent decades have seen an exponential increase in the functionality of electronic circuits, allowing for continuous innovation, which benefits society. This increase in functionality has been facilitated by scaling down the dimensions of the most important electronic component in modern electronics: the Si-based MOSFET. By reducing the size of the device, more transistors per chip area is possible. Smaller MOSFETs are also faster and more energy-efficient. In state of the art MOSFETs, the key dimensions are only few nanometers, rapidly approaching a point where the current scaling scheme may not be maintained. Research is ongoing to improve the device performance, mainly focusing on material and structural improvements to the existing MOSFET architecture. In this thesis, MOSFETs based on nanowires, are investigated. Taking advantage of the nanowire geometry, the gate can be wrapped all-around the nanowires for excellent control of the channel. The nanowires are made in a high-mobility III-V semiconductor, InAs, allowing for faster electrons and higher currents than Si. This device type is a potential candidate to either replace or complement Si-based MOSFETs in digital and analogue applications. Single balanced down-conversion mixer circuits were fabricated, consisting of three vertically aligned InAs nanowire MOSFETs and two nanowire resistors. These circuits are shown to operate with voltage gain in the GHz-regime. Individual transistors demonstrated operation with gain at several tens of GHz. A method to characterise the resistivity and metal-semiconductor contact quality has been developed, using the transmission line method adapted for vertical nanowires. This method has successfully been applied to InAs nanowires and shown that low-resistance contacts to these nanowires are possible. To optimise the performance of the device and reach as close to intrinsic operation as possible, parasitic capacitances and resistances in the device structure need to be minimised. A novel self-aligned gate-last fabrication method for vertical InAs nanowire transistors has been developed, that allows for an optimum design of the channel and the contact regions. Transistors fabricated using this method exhibit the best DC performance, in terms of a compromise between the normalised transconductance and sub-threshold swing, of any previously reported vertical nanowire MOSFET.
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