Evaporated tellurium thin films for p-type field-effect transistors and circuits


There is an emerging need for semiconductors that can be processed at near ambient temperature with high mobility and device performance. Although multiple n-type options have been identified, the development of their p-type counterparts remains limited. Here, we report the realization of tellurium thin films through thermal evaporation at cryogenic temperatures for fabrication of high-performance wafer-scale p-type field-effect transistors. We achieve an effective hole mobility of ~35 cm2 V−1 s−1, on/off current ratio of ~104 and subthreshold swing of 108 mV dec−1 on an 8-nm-thick film. High-performance tellurium p-type field-effect transistors are fabricated on a wide range of substrates including glass and plastic, further demonstrating the broad applicability of this material. Significantly, three-dimensional circuits are demonstrated by integrating multi-layered transistors on a single chip using sequential lithography, deposition and lift-off processes. Finally, various functional logic gates and circuits are demonstrated.

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Fig. 1: Characterization of Te thin films evaporated with a substrate temperature of −80 °C.
Fig. 2: FETs based on Te evaporated with a substrate temperature of −80 °C.
Fig. 3: Flexible and transparent FETs based on Te evaporated with a substrate temperature of −80 oC.
Fig. 4: Integrated circuits based on Te FETs.
Fig. 5: Multi-layered Te FETs and 3D inverters.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Synthesis work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division under contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 within the Electronic Materials Program (No. KC1201). Work at the Molecular Foundry was supported by the Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the US Department of Energy under Contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. We thank N. Tamura for help with XRD measurements.

Author information




C.Z., C.T. and A.J. conceived the idea for the project. C.Z. and A.J. designed the experiments. C.Z., M.A. and Z.Y. fabricated the devices. C.Z. performed the device measurements. C.Z., C.T., X.S., D.-H.L., M.H., H.Y.Y.N., L.L. and M.S. performed material characterizations. C.Z. and A.J analysed the data. C.Z., C.T., D.-H.L. and A.J. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ali Javey.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Takhee Lee, SungWoo Nam and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work

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Zhao, C., Tan, C., Lien, D. et al. Evaporated tellurium thin films for p-type field-effect transistors and circuits. Nat. Nanotechnol. 15, 53–58 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-019-0585-9

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