Manufacturing and Reliability of Nanoscale DevicesOwen Loh , Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2011.
Major Professor: Dr. Horacio D. Espinosa.
The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) identifies emerging technologies with the potential to sustain Moore’s Law. A necessary progression from conventional CMOS, to non-planer/dual gate CMOS, and ultimately to novel device architectures such as nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) is envisioned. The ITRS also identifies critical roadblocks which currently preclude advances beyond CMOS as a means to guide research and development efforts. Roadblocks specific to NEMS include widespread manufacturing challenges associated with manipulating one-dimensional nanostructures, and poor reliability arising from a number of prevalent failure modes. The weight of these roadblocks is evident well beyond the goals of the ITRS, where nanoelectromechanical sensors and other devices face similar obstacles.
This thesis focuses on two critical challenges facing the development of robust carbon nanotube-based NEMS: scalable manufacturing methods, and understanding and eliminating prevalent failure modes. Toward the first challenge, probe-based nanomanufacturing schemes are developed to construct well-ordered arrays of individual carbon nanotubes from which NEMS can be fabricated. This work extends beyond the goals of the semiconductor industry, and demonstrates the ability to create functional sub-100-nanometer protein and drug arrays, as well as novel in vitro injection methods for single cell studies.
The second part of this thesis identifies prevalent failure modes and their point of onset within the device design space. Again, these are addressed by the ITRS but have implications reaching well beyond the semiconductor industry. It then seeks to find the underlying mechanisms for the observed failure modes, and introduces easily-implemented solutions which exhibit the ability to eliminate or greatly-suppress the prevalent failure modes, enabling numerous device actuation cycles without failure and demonstrations of functionality not possible with failure-prone devices.