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Imec advances UHF Schottky diode, 10nm FinFETs

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FinFET? TCAD? 3D? IGZO? Schottky diode?

Nanoelectronics research firm Imec presented at this week's International Electron Devices Meeting what it claims as the industry's first ultra-high frequency (UHF) Schottky diode based on amorphous Indium-Gallium-Zinc Oxide (IGZO) as semiconductor. This technology will enable the development of thin-film passive UHF RFID tags to replace item-level bar codes.

Passive intelligent item-level RFID tags are ideal for the retail sector and enable more accurate tracking of individual products. Unlike bar codes which require one-per-one scanning by the reader, UHF RFID-tags could be scanned all together. However, today's UHF silicon-based RFID technology is too expensive for mass-market retail applications. Imec's research aims to significantly reduce the cost of the entire RFID by combining UHF operation with a thin-film-based technology.

UHF RFID tags have a reading range of about five to ten meters and employ small, printed, low-cost antennas. Compared to silicon, IGZO-based technology has the potential to result in a low-cost solution, since IGZO thin film active devices are fabricated using a cheaper, low-temperature process. This allows the development of chips direct on a plastic foils, such as on the product package. However, IGZO has intrinsically a lower performance than conventional silicon and other conventional crystalline semiconductors. Therefore, it is a challenge to fabricate ultra-fast active devices based on IGZO.

 IGZO Schottky diode

UHF IGZO Schottky diode. Can be utilized for low-cost, passive, thin-film RFID tags.

The diode is the fundamental block in the power supply generator of passive, i.e., battery-less tags. It rectifies the carrier wave captured by the antenna and feeds the power supply on the tag. IGZO is an amorphous semiconductor with gap states that impede the formation of a stable Schottky barrier, irrespective of the metal used.

To achieve a stable Schottky barrier, Imec developed specific plasma and anneal treatments that alter the chemistry of the Schottky interface. The resulting IGZO Schottky diodes have a rectification ratio of up to nine orders of magnitude (at +1V and -1V), current densities of up to 800A/cm2 at forward bias of 1V, and a cut-off frequency of 1.8GHz. When incorporated in a single stage rectifier, the cut-off frequency is 1.1GHz. The rectifiers are demonstrated to operate at ultra-high frequency (868MHz) with low losses.

Imec also announced that it will expand its collaboration in the field of technology computer aided design (TCAD) with EDA firm Synopsys to develop FinFET devices at 10nm. The partnership will specifically focus on the development and optimisation of new device architectures based on FinFETs and tunnel FETs (TFETs). At this week's IEDM, Imec presented a paper on the use of stressors to boost carrier mobility, which is critical to scale FinFET devices at 10nm and beyond.

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