Project Overview

NIRT: Surface State Engineering - Charge Storage and Conduction in Organo-Silicon Heterostructures as a Basis for Nanoscale Devices

# 0708923
John Bean (Principal Investigator)
Lin Pu (Co-Principal Investigator)
Lloyd Harriott (Co-Principal Investigator)
Avik Ghosh (Co-Principal Investigator)
Keith Williams (Co-Principal Investigator)

Intellectual Merit: This proposal was received in response to the Active Nanostructures and Nanosystems solicitation, NSF 06-595, category NIRT. The project combines work in molecular electronics and microelectronics to lay the scientific and technological foundations of "Surface State Engineering." Specifically, organic molecules will be attached to silicon surfaces so strongly and intimately that electrons in both materials will be able to overlap quantum mechanically. This offers entirely new mechanisms for precisely introducing charge into future nanoscale metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors. It also opens the door to new conduction phenomenon based on quantum mechanical interference between organo-molecular and semiconductor electron wave functions. The proposal bridges disciplinary boundaries and the boundary between fundamental science and technology through its development of three tools: (1) Sophisticated modeling techniques addressing the very different physics of quantum dots and silicon layers, combining these to produce a hybrid model of organo-silicon structures; (2) New vapor phase techniques for attaching high purity self-limiting single molecular layers on silicon in a manner compatible with modern microelectronics processing; (3) A characterization and device validation platform based on technologically relevant silicon-on-insulator back-gated nanoscale field effect transistors.

Broader Impacts: In addition to opening doors between scientific disciplines, this proposal suggests ways to pass through the "Brick Wall" looming ahead of the U.S. semiconductor electronics industry. It does this in a manner that does not call for miraculous development of new stand-alone nanotechnologies, but instead uses lessons learned to propose a hybrid technology combining the strengths of molecular electronics with the strengths of modern microelectronics. Finally, the proposal builds upon prior ground-breaking work in nanoscience education on both the web and in the classroom to develop a new partnership with the Science Museum of Virginia that will place nanoscience into the hands of K-12 students and teachers across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Source: NSF