Nano-electro-mechanical switches (NEMS) offer new possibilities for the design of ultra energy-efficient systems; however, thus far, all the fabricated NEMS devices require high supply voltages that limit their applicability for logic designs. Therefore, research is being conducted to lower the operating voltages by scaling down the physical dimensions of these devices. However, the impact of device scaling on the electrical and mechanical properties of metal contacts in NEMS devices has not been thoroughly investigated in the literature. Such a study is essential because metal contacts play a critical role in determining the overall performance and reliability of NEMS. Therefore, the comprehensive analytical study presented in this paper highlights the performance and reliability degradations of such metal contacts caused by scaling. The proposed modeling environment accurately takes into account the impact of roughness of contact surfaces, elastic/plastic deformation of contacting asperities, and various inter-molecular forces between mating surfaces (such as Van der Waals and capillary forces). The modeling results are validated and calibrated using available measurement data. This scaling analysis indicates that the key contact properties of gold contacts (resistance, stiction and wear-out) deteriorate "exponentially" with scaling. Simulation results demonstrate that reliable (stiction-free) operation of very small contact areas (≈ 6nm x 6nm) will be a daunting task due to the existence of strong surface forces. Hence, contact degradation is identified as a major problem to the scaling of NEMS transistors. © 2011 IEEE.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||2011 International Reliability Physics Symposium|
|Publisher||Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)|
|State||Published - Apr 2011|