The future of ferroelectric field-effect transistor technology


The discovery of ferroelectricity in oxides that are compatible with modern semiconductor manufacturing processes, such as hafnium oxide, has led to a re-emergence of the ferroelectric field-effect transistor in advanced microelectronics. A ferroelectric field-effect transistor combines a ferroelectric material with a semiconductor in a transistor structure. In doing so, it merges logic and memory functionalities at the single-device level, delivering some of the most pressing hardware-level demands for emerging computing paradigms. Here, we examine the potential of the ferroelectric field-effect transistor technologies in current embedded non-volatile memory applications and future in-memory, biomimetic and alternative computing models. We highlight the material- and device-level challenges involved in high-volume manufacturing in advanced technology nodes (≤10 nm), which are reminiscent of those encountered in the early days of high-K-metal-gate transistor development. We argue that the ferroelectric field-effect transistors can be a key hardware component in the future of computing, providing a new approach to electronics that we term ferroelectronics.

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Fig. 1: Device physics of ferroelectric field-effect transistors.
Fig. 2: Applications of ferroelectric field-effect transistors and the corresponding device physics.
Fig. 3: Embedded ferroelectric memory technologies.
Fig. 4: Origin of threshold voltage (Vth) variation in scaled ferroelectric field-effect transistors.
Fig. 5: Origin of endurance limitation in ferroelectric field-effect transistors.


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This work was supported by the Applications and Systems-Driven Center for Energy-Efficient Integrated Nano Technologies (ASCENT), one of six centers in the Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP), an SRC program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA), the Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), an Engineering Research Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Science Foundation (grant no. 1810005). We thank S. Yu, S. Mahapatra, W. van den Hoek, A. Raychowdhury, S. Salahuddin, K. Ni, S. Gupta, S.K. Thirumala, M.M. Islam and M. Hoffmann for insightful discussions.

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All authors discussed the ideas and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Asif Islam Khan or Ali Keshavarzi or Suman Datta.

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Khan, A.I., Keshavarzi, A. & Datta, S. The future of ferroelectric field-effect transistor technology. Nat Electron 3, 588–597 (2020).

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