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Esprit Project 23274 - QUEST
Quantum Electronics using Scanning Tunnelling microscopy based lithography

Keywords: MEL-ARI Nano-Scale ICs, Nanofabrication, STM, Single Electron memory, silicon

Project home page:


The objective of the QUEST project is to push the fabrication of silicon based devices below the 20 nm limit using SPM-based (scanning probe microscopy) lithography in order to:

Nanometer scale structures in which dimensional confinement (e.g. resonant tunnelling, Coulombic effects...) become first order effects will result in new opportunities and concepts to take full advantage of low power quantum electronics. However, the path to the optimal use of these effects in solving problems of mainstream technology is still not clear. On the other hand, scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques that have demonstrated potential for atomic-level manipulation of matter have not yet been fully developed to solve fine patterning constraints at the nanometer scale.

The QUEST project has the objective to develop device concepts and fabrication techniques relevant for future industrial applications:

The operating principle of the memory is based on the storage of very few electrons (possibly one) in a floating gate embedded between a MOSFET channel and a command gate. Memory operation is achieved as following: by applying a positive gate voltage an electron is transferred to the storage dot and increases its potential that blocks the transfer of others electrons. The trapping of an electron in the dot shifts the threshold voltage of the MOSFET that can be detected to sense the information (formation of an hysteris on the current/gate-voltage characteristic). The novelty and originality of the approach lies in the fabrication of such an advanced memory cell using SPM techniques combined with self-aligned thin-film deposition and etching.

Contact Point
Dr. Emmanuel Dubois
Institut Supérieur d'Electronique du Nord (ISEN -Recherche)
Dept. IEMN
Rue Solférino 90
F - 59046 Lille

e-mail: (E-mail removed)

Start date: 1 January 97
Duration: 36 months

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