Low-Voltage Switches

Low-Voltage and Stiction-Free Nanoelectromechanical Squitches

ONE Lab: Farnaz Niroui, Mayuran Saravanapavanantham, Annie Wang, Vladimir Bulović
Collaborators: Ellen Sletten, Wen Jie Ong, Timothy Swager, Jeffrey Lang 

Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switches have emerged as a promising competing technology to the conventional complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) transistors. NEM switches can exhibit abrupt switching behavior with large on-off current ratios and near-zero off-state leakage currents. However, they typically require large operating voltages exceeding 1 V and suffer from failure due to stiction. To address these challenges, we propose an electromechanical switch, referred to as a “squitch”, based on a switching gap composed of a molecular film sandwiched between conductive contacts. In this design, an applied voltage between the electrodes provides sufficient electrostatic force to compress the molecular film. As the molecules are compressed, the distance between the electrodes is reduced, causing an exponential increase in the tunneling current to turn on the device. The molecular layer helps formation of nanoscale switching gaps that promote lowering of the actuation voltage. Concurrently, the elastic restoring force in the compressed molecular film helps overcome surface adhesive forces during operation to prevent stiction-induced failure. 

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Related publications and links 

  • F. Niroui, A.I. Wang, E. M. Sletten, Y. Song, J. Kong, E. Yablonovitch, T. M. Swager, J. H. Lang, and V. Bulović,  “Tunneling Nanoelectromechanical switches based on compressible molecular thin films,” ACS Nano, vol. 9, 7886-7894 (2015).
  • F. Niroui, E.M. Sletten, P.B. Deotare, A.I. Wang, T.M. Swager, J.H. Lang, and V. Bulović, “Controlled fabrication of nanoscale gaps using stiction,” in Proc. 28th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), 85-88 (2015).
  • F. Niroui, P.B. Deotare, E.M. Sletten, A.I. Wang, E. Yablonovitch, T.M. Swager, J.H. Lang, and V. Bulović, “Nanoelectromechanical tunneling switches based on self-assembled molecular layers,” in Proc. 27th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), 1103-1106 (2014).