am5b05336_si_001.pdf (1.37 MB)
Download file

Evidence of Negative Capacitance in Piezoelectric ZnO Thin Films Sputtered on Interdigital Electrodes

Download (1.37 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 11.11.2015, 00:00 authored by Marco Laurenti, Alessio Verna, Alessandro Chiolerio
The scaling paradigm known as Moore’s Law, with the shrinking of transistors and their doubling on a chip every two years, is going to reach a painful end. Another less-known paradigm, the so-called Koomey’s Law, stating that the computing efficiency doubles every 1.57 years, poses other important challenges, since the efficiency of rechargeable energy sources is substantially constant, and any other evolution is based on device architecture only. How can we still increase the computational power/reduce the power consumption of our electronic environments? A first answer to this question comes from the quest for new functionalities. Within this aim, negative capacitance (NC) is becoming one of the most intriguing and studied phenomena since it can be exploited for reducing the aforementioned limiting effects in the downscaling of electronic devices. Here we report the evidence of negative capacitance in 80 nm thick ZnO thin films sputtered on Au interdigital electrodes (IDEs). Highly (002)-oriented ZnO thin films, with a fine-grained surface nanostructure and the desired chemical composition, are deposited at room temperature on different IDEs structures. Direct-current electrical measurements highlighted the semiconducting nature of ZnO (current density in the order of 1 × 10–3 A/cm2). When turned into the alternating current regime (from 20 Hz to 2 MHz) the presence of NC values is observed in the low-frequency range (20–120 Hz). The loss of metal/semiconductor interface charge states under forward bias conditions, together with the presence of oxygen vacancies and piezoelectric/electrostriction effects, is believed to be at the basis of the observed negative behavior, suggesting that ZnO thin-film-based field-effect transistors can be a powerful instrument to go beyond the Boltzmann limit and the downscaling of integrated circuit elements required for the fabrication of portable and miniaturized electronic devices, especially for electric household appliances working in the low 50 Hz utility frequency.