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From RF-Microsystem Technology to RF-Nanotechnology

Coccetti, Fabio From RF-Microsystem Technology to RF-Nanotechnology. (2013) [HDR]

(Document in English)

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The RF microsystem technology is believed to introduce a paradigm switch in the wireless revolution. Although only few companies are to date doing successful business with RF-MEMS, and on a case-by-case basis, important issues need yet to be addressed in order to maximize yield and performance stability and hence, outperform alternative competitive technologies (e.g. ferroelectric, SoS, SOI,…). Namely the behavior instability associated to: 1) internal stresses of the free standing thin layers (metal and/or dielectric) and 2) the mechanical contact degradation, be it ohmic or capacitive, which may occur due to low forces, on small areas, and while handling severe current densities.The investigation and understanding of these complex scenario, has been the core of theoretical and experimental investigations carried out in the framework of the research activity that will be presented here. The reported results encompass activities which go from coupled physics (multiphysics) modeling, to the development of experimental platforms intended to tackles the underlying physics of failure. Several original findings on RF-MEMS reliability in particular with respect to the major failure mechanisms such as dielectric charging, metal contact degradation and thermal induced phenomena have been obtained. The original use of advanced experimental setup (surface scanning microscopy, light interferometer profilometry) has allowed the definition of innovative methodology capable to isolate and separately tackle the different degradation phenomena under arbitrary working conditions. This has finally permitted on the one hand to shed some light on possible optimization (e.g. packaging) conditions, and on the other to explore the limits of microsystem technology down to the nanoscale. At nanoscale indeed many phenomena take place and can be exploited to either enhance conventional functionalities and performances (e.g. miniaturization, speed or frequency) or introduce new ones (e.g. ballistic transport). At nanoscale, moreover, many phenomena exhibit their most interesting properties in the RF spectrum (e.g. micromechanical resonances). Owing to the fact that today’s minimum manufacturable features have sizes comparable with the fundamental technological limits (e.g. surface roughness, metal grain size, …), the next generation of smart systems requires a switching paradigm on how new miniaturized components are conceived and fabricated. In fact endowed by superior electrical and mechanical performances, novel nanostructured materials (e.g. carbon based, as carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene) may provide an answer to this endeavor. Extensively studied in the DC and in the optical range, the studies engaged in LAAS have been among the first to target microwave and millimiterwave transport properties in carbon-based material paving the way toward RF nanodevices. Preliminary modeling study performed on original test structures have highlighted the possibility to implement novel functionalities such as the coupling between the electromagnetic (RF) and microelectromechanical energy in vibrating CNT (toward the nanoradio) or the high speed detection based on ballistic transport in graphene three-terminal junction (TTJ). At the same time these study have contributed to identify the several challenges still laying ahead such as the development of adequate design and modeling tools (ballistic/diffusive, multiphysics and large scale factor) and practical implementation issues such as the effects of material quality and graphene-metal contact on the electrical transport. These subjects are the focus of presently on-going and future research activities and may represent a cornerstone of future wireless applications from microwave up to the THz range.

Item Type:HDR
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Aubert, Hervé
Deposited On:16 Jan 2014 10:41

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