DN Staff

July 11, 2001

1 Min Read
Electronics approach size limit

Thursday, October 12, 2000

We are approaching a limit to the size of electronic devices .75the atomic level. Uzi Landman, director of the Georgia Tech Center for Computational Materials Science, is providing clues about how these small-scale devices will work by conducting research on the properties of silicon nanowires a few atoms in diameter.

Results of Landman's work help us understand how quantum mechanics affects materials on this small scale, which will help engineers design tomorrow's electronic devices. "Our trade secret is simulations of such nano-scale devices and prediction of methods for their preparation," says Landman.

The Georgia Tech research team simulated silicon nanowires etched from bulk silicon clusters containing 24 atoms of silicon. The experiments produced data on the nanowires' electrical conductance, the influence of a silicon-metal interface, and the role that doping with aluminum atoms has in changing material properties.

Among the findings of the research are theories about overcoming some of the anticipated problems involved in doping the silicon used in small electronic devices. Doping of semiconductors is routinely used for tuning and optimizing device characteristics. However, in nanoscale devices, it's reasonable to expect large variations of dopant concentrations from device to device. Designers need to be aware of these variations for determining the performance of such devices, according to Landman, who believes nanowires made from silicon clusters could offer a solution.

For more information on Landman's research, e-mail [email protected]u or call (404) 894-3368.

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