Power dissipation is a critical problem of CMOS devices especially for mobile applications. Many efforts have been made to solve the problem, but there are still major issues associated with scaling the device size. Micro electromechanical (MEMS) and nano electromechanical (NEMS) devices are one candidate to solve the problems because of their excellent standby leakage. However, the switches have a tradeoff between low operating power and high device speed. Suspended beams with low mass density and good mechanical properties provide a way to optimize the device. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have the low mass density and excellent mechanical properties to enable high performance MEMS/NEMS devices. However, the high temperature required for the direct synthesis for CNTs makes it difficult for them to be compatible with a substrate containing transistors. Therefore, continuous film deposition techniques are investigated with low temperature (< 300 C). Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is a simple and versatile processing method to deposit carbon nanotubes on the substrate at room temperature. The movement of the charged CNTs in suspension occurs by an applied electric field. The deposited CNT film thickness can be controlled through the applied voltage and process time. We demonstrate the use of an EPD process to deposit various thicknesses of CNT films. Film thicknesses are studied as a function of, deposition time, electric field strength, and suspension concentration. The deposition mechanism of the EPD process for carbon nanotube layers was explained with experimental data. We determined the film mass density and electrical/optical properties of SWCNT films. Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy was used to determine the film mass density. Films created in this manner had a mass density that varies with thickness from 0.12 to 0.54 g/cm3 and a resistivity of 2.1410-3 Ω∙cm. For the mechanical property measurements, we describe a technique to fabricate free-standing thin films using modified Langmuir-Blodgett method. Then we extracted the Young’s modulus of the film from the load-displacement data from nanoindentation using the appropriate modeling. The Young’s modulus had a range of 4.72 to 5.67 GPa, independent of deposited thickness. We fabricated two-terminal fixed beam switches with SWCNT thin films using the EPD process. Device pull-in voltages under 1V were achieved by decreasing the air-gap. The pull-in voltages were compared with the calculated results using the device geometry and extracted Young’s modulus from nanoindentation. Generally good agreement was observed. Also, we found a range of 2.4 to 3.5 MHz resonant frequency. However, we encountered several problems with the device including a gradual turn-on, hysteresis between pull-in and pull-out voltage, changes in the pull-in voltages with repeated on-off cycling, and early failure due to moisture absorption during testing in the air. Mechanisms for these observations are postulated. Further work is needed to improve device performance and reliability.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2015. Major: Electrical/Computer Engineering. Advisor: Stephen Campbell. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 110 pages.
Lim, Jun Young.
Electromechanical Switches Fabricated by Electrophoretic Deposition of Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Films.
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