Letter abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 3, 26 - 30 (2008)
Published online: 23 December 2007 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2007.417

Subject Categories: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Electronic properties and devices | NEMS

Nanoscale memory cell based on a nanoelectromechanical switched capacitor

Jae Eun Jang1,2, Seung Nam Cha1,2, Young Jin Choi1, Dae Joon Kang3, Tim P. Butler1, David G. Hasko4, Jae Eun Jung2, Jong Min Kim2 & Gehan A. J. Amaratunga1

The demand for increased information storage densities has pushed silicon technology to its limits and led to a focus on research on novel materials and device structures, such as magnetoresistive random access memory1, 2, 3 and carbon nanotube field-effect transistors4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, for ultra-large-scale integrated memory10. Electromechanical devices are suitable for memory applications because of their excellent 'ON–OFF' ratios and fast switching characteristics, but they involve larger cells and more complex fabrication processes than silicon-based arrangements11, 12, 13. Nanoelectromechanical devices based on carbon nanotubes have been reported previously14, 15, 16, 17, but it is still not possible to control the number and spatial location of nanotubes over large areas with the precision needed for the production of integrated circuits. Here we report a novel nanoelectromechanical switched capacitor structure based on vertically aligned multiwalled carbon nanotubes in which the mechanical movement of a nanotube relative to a carbon nanotube based capacitor defines 'ON' and 'OFF' states. The carbon nanotubes are grown with controlled dimensions at pre-defined locations on a silicon substrate in a process that could be made compatible with existing silicon technology, and the vertical orientation allows for a significant decrease in cell area over conventional devices. We have written data to the structure and it should be possible to read data with standard dynamic random access memory sensing circuitry. Simulations suggest that the use of high-k dielectrics in the capacitors will increase the capacitance to the levels needed for dynamic random access memory applications.

  1. Electrical Engineering Division, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, 9 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FA, UK
  2. Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, Yongin 449-712, Korea
  3. BK 21 Physics Research Division, Center for Nanotubes and Nanostructured Composites, SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-746, Korea
  4. Microelectronics Research Centre, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK

Correspondence to: Gehan A. J. Amaratunga1 e-mail: gaja1@cam.ac.uk


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