Letter | Published:

A sub-1-volt nanoelectromechanical switching device

Nature Nanotechnology volume 8, pages 3640 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switches1,2,3,4,5,6 have received widespread attention as promising candidates in the drive to surmount the physical limitations currently faced by complementary metal oxide semiconductor technology. The NEM switch has demonstrated superior characteristics including quasi-zero leakage behaviour1, excellent density capability2 and operation in harsh environments3. However, an unacceptably high operating voltage (4–20 V) has posed a major obstacle in the practical use of the NEM switch in low-power integrated circuits. To utilize the NEM switch widely as a core device component in ultralow power applications7,8,9,10,11, the operation voltage needs to be reduced to 1 V or below. However, sub-1 V actuation has not yet been demonstrated because of fabrication difficulties and irreversible switching failure caused by surface adhesion. Here, we report the sub-1 V operation of a NEM switch through the introduction of a novel pipe clip device structure and an effective air gap fabrication technique. This achievement is primarily attributed to the incorporation of a 4-nm-thick air gap, which is the smallest reported so far for a NEM switch generated using a ‘top-down’ approach. Our structure and process can potentially be utilized in various nanogap-related applications, including NEM switch-based ultralow-power integrated circuits, NEM resonators12,13, nanogap electrodes for scientific research14 and sensors15.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Smart IT Convergence System Research Center, which is funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as a Global Frontier Project, and also partially supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (no. 20120000823). The authors would like to thank Yang-Kyu Choi for experimental support.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-701, Republic of Korea

    • Jeong Oen Lee
    • , Yong-Ha Song
    • , Min-Wu Kim
    • , Hyun-Ho Yang
    •  & Jun-Bo Yoon
  2. Korea National NanoFab Center (NNFC), 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-701, Republic of Korea

    • Min-Ho Kang
    •  & Jae-Sub Oh

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Contributions

J.O.L. conceived the idea and performed experimental work and data analysis. M-H.K. and J-S.O. contributed to the fabrication process. J.O.L., M-W.K. and Y-H.S. performed modelling and interpretation. H-H.Y. participated in data analysis. J-B.Y. inspired the research, with guidance, and participated in data analysis. The manuscript was written by J.O.L. and J-B.Y. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jun-Bo Yoon.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.208

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