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Spiking Neural Networks propose to mimic nature’s way of recognizing patterns and making decisions in a fuzzy manner. To develop such networks in hardware, a highly manufacturable technology is required. We have proposed a silicon-based leaky integrate and fire (LIF) neuron, on a sufficiently matured 32 nm CMOS silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology. The floating body effect of the partially depleted (PD) SOI transistor is used to store “holes” generated by impact ionization in the floating body, which performs the “integrate” function. Recombination or equivalent hole loss mimics the “leak” functions. The “hole” storage reduces the source barrier to increase the transistor current. Upon reaching a threshold current level, an external circuit records a “firing” event and resets the SOI MOSFET by draining all the stored holes. In terms of application, the neuron is able to show classification problems with reasonable accuracy. We looked at the effect of scaling experimentally. Channel length scaling reduces voltage for impact ionization and enables sharper impact ionization producing significant designability of the neuron. A circuit equivalence is also demonstrated to understand the dynamics qualitatively. Three distinct regimes are observed during integration based on different hole leakage mechanism.
Socio-behavioural factors and pathogens associated with childhood diarrhoea are of global public health concern. Our survey in 696 children aged ⩽2 years in rural West Bengal detected rotavirus as sole pathogen in 8% (17/199) of diarrhoeic stool specimens. Other organisms were detected along with rotavirus in 11% of faecal specimens. A third of the children with rotavirus diarrhoea, according to Vesikari score, had severe illness. The top four rotavirus genotypes were G9P (28%), G1P (19%), G2P (14%) and G8P (8%). In the multivariate model, the practice of ‘drawing drinking water by dipping a pot in the storage vessel’ [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2·21, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·03–4·74, P = 0·041], and ‘children aged ⩽6 months with non-exclusive breastfeeding’ (aOR 2·07, 95% CI 1·1–3·82, P = 0·024) had twice the odds of having diarrhoea. Incidence of rotavirus diarrhoea was 24/100 child-years in children aged >6–18 months, 19/100 child-years in children aged >18–24 months and 5/100 child-years in those aged ⩽6 months. Results have translational implications for future interventions including vaccine development.
Nitridation of GeO2 interfacial layer (IL) was done using continuous wave (CW) and pulsed wave (PW) decoupled plasma nitridation (DPN) processes. Langmuir probe analysis of the N2 plasma demonstrates that at the same effective power and pressure, PW plasma has similar electron density (Ne) with lower electron temperature (kTe) and plasma potential (Vp) as compared to CW plasma. This results in softer plasma conditions using a PW process leading to lower plasma-related damage in the IL, but without reducing the overall nitrogen concentration. The plasma parameters were further correlated to mobility (μ) and interface trap density (Dit) extracted from fabricated Ge n-MOSFETs. As expected from the plasma analysis, at the same effective power and pressure, the PW DPN process shows 1.2X higher electron mobility as compared to a CW process. This improvement can enable GeON as an IL for future Ge CMOS gate stack technology.
A low thermal budget process for back-end compatible PCMO based RRAM cell is essential for 3D stacked memory. In this paper, we investigate two strategies to engineer low thermal budget processing for bipolar switching - (i) deposition engineering i.e. based on deposition temperature and oxygen partial pressure, (ii) post deposition anneal i.e. based on inert anneal of room temperature deposited PCMO film.. We demonstrate that both deposition and anneal shows a transition temperature above which bipolar switching is realized. Oxygen partial pressure is a key deposition process parameter. As oxygen partial pressure is reduced memory window increases, however beyond an optimal O2 partial pressure, unipolar switching is observed. Inert anneal is more effective in thermal budget reduction as N2/550°C/2min anneal has same memory performance as 650°C/2hour deposition process.
Design optimisation of a helicopter rotor blade is performed. The objective is to reduce helicopter vibration and constraints are put on frequencies and aeroelastic stability. The ply angles of the D-spar and skin of the composite rotor blade with NACA 0015 aerofoil section are considered as design variables. Polynomial response surfaces and space filling experimental designs are used to generate surrogate models of the objective function with respect to cross-section properties. The stacking sequence corresponding to the optimal cross-section is found using a real-coded genetic algorithm. Ply angle discretisation of 1°, 15°, 30° and 45° are used. The mean value of the objective function is used to find the optimal blade designs and the resulting designs are tested for variance. The optimal designs show a vibration reduction of 26% to 33% from the baseline design. A substantial reduction in vibration and an aeroelastically stable blade is obtained even after accounting for composite material uncertainty.
Hydrogenated amorphous silicon films for photovoltaics and thin film transistors are deposited from silane containing discharges. The radicals generated in the plasma such as SiH3 and H impinge on the surface and lead to silicon film growth through a complex network of elementary surface processes that include adsorption, abstraction, insertion and diffusion of various radicals. Mechanism and kinetics of these reactions determine the film composition and quality. Developing deposition strategies for improving the film quality requires a fundamental understanding of the radical-surface interaction mechanisms. We have been using in situ multiple total internal reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry in conjunction with atomistic simulations to determine the elementary surface reaction and diffusion mechanisms. Synergistic use of experiments and atomistic simulations elucidate elementary processes occurring on the surface. Herein, we review our current understanding of the reaction mechanisms that lead to a-Si:H film growth with special emphasis on the reactions of the SiH3 radical.
Image and particle sensors based on thin-film on CMOS technology are currently being developed at our laboratory. In this technology, amorphous silicon detectors are vertically integrated on top of dedicated CMOS chips. For both, vision and particle detection, this approach is expected to enhance the performances. In fact very high fill factors, increased sensitivity, and integration level, coupled with extremely low dark current density values can potentially be attained.
A first optimization of the a-Si:H diodes (>1mm2) on glass substrates, with the primary focus on reducing dark current densities, gave Jdark values as low as 1 pA/cm2 (at -1 V for 1 m thick detectors). These detectors were then deposited on CMOS readout chips, but so far this step was unfortunately accompanied by an increase in Jdark to values over 10 nA/cm2.
Here, the possible cause for such an increase in Jdark as well as possible “remedies” against this effect will be discussed; the principle cause is supposed to be the influence of chip topology. Possible solutions include surface treatments as well as the use of metal-i-p diode configuration. Results obtained so far with these methods are given.
We present femtosecond time-resolved studies of the frequency-dependent photoconductivity in the far-infrared spectral range (∼ 1 – 10 meV) in PECVD a-SiGe:H and a-Si:H thin films. The experiments are carried out using an optical pump / terahertz (THz) probe technique, in which a femtosecond pump pulse excites carriers into the extended states and a time-delayed probe pulse measures the resulting change in the far-infrared optical properties, which are directly related to the ac photoconductivity, as the carrier distribution evolves in time. We find that the frequency-dependent conductivity measured on picosecond time scales shows a strongly non-Drude behavior, with components of the response fitting to a power-law frequency dependence, reflecting processes associated with localized states.
Recent work has shown that the electrical properties of hydrogenated amorphous Si films with nanocrystalline inclusions (a/nc-Si:H) make this material a promising candidate for applications in solar cells. The present study applies the technique of spherical aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy for the identification and analysis of the crystalline content of an a/nc-Si:H film. By varying both the spherical aberration of the objective lens and the defocus, regions of crystallinity in the a/nc-Si:H film can be identified. This study reports the analysis of Si nanoparticles of approximately 1.5 nm in size. Some of these nanoparticles contain planar defects, such as twin defects and stacking faults. All particles observed were the same crystal structure as bulk Si, which agrees with theoretical cluster calculations. Beam damage was observed in the amorphous matrix for long electron–beam exposures.
The fabrication of low temperature polycrystalline silicon with lifetimes close to single crystalline silicon, but with internal surface passivation similar to that observed in deposited microcrystalline silicon, is a promising direction for thin film polycrystalline silicon photovoltaics. To achieve this, large grains with passivated grain boundaries and intragranular defects are required. We investigate the low-temperature (250-550°C) epitaxial growth of thin silicon films by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD) on Si(100) substrates and large-grained polycrystalline silicon template layers formed by selective nucleation and solid phase epitaxy (SNSPE). Using reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we have observed epitaxial, twinned epitaxial, mixed epitaxial/polycrystalline and polycrystalline phases in the 50 nm–15 μm thickness regime. HWCVD growth on Si(100) was performed using a mixture of diluted silane (4% in He) and hydrogen at a H2/SiH4 ratio of 50:1 at substrate temperatures from 300–475°C. We will discuss the relationship between the microstructure and photoconductive decay lifetimes of these undoped layers on Si(100) and SNSPE templates as well as their suitability for use in thin-film photovoltaic applications.
Vertically integrated particle sensors have been developed using thin-film on ASIC technology. Hydrogenated amorphous silicon n-i-p diodes have been optimized for particle detection. These devices were first deposited on glass substrates to optimize the material properties and the dark current of very thick diodes (with thickness up to 50 m). Corresponding diodes were later directly deposited on two types of CMOS readout chips. These vertically integrated particle sensors were tested in beta particle beam from 63Ni and 90Sr sources. Detection of single low- and high- energy beta particle was achieved.
A study of the effects of light-soaking and atmospheric adsorption (aging) on the dark- and photo-conductivity of a series of microcrystalline silicon films of varying crystallinity is presented. Light-soaking in vacuum slightly reduces photoconductivity in films close to the amorphous – microcrystalline transition, and there is also a reduction in dark current. Aging increases the dark current, and thus unless due care is taken during light-soaking experiments to eliminate or compensate for aging, the apparent effect of light-soaking may be reduced or even reversed in sign. Transient photocurrent decays confirm the presence of a large density of metastable light-induced defects. A shift in the apparent distribution of defects occurs on prolonged aging, which may be due either to changes in the DOS or a shift in the Fermi level.
Aluminum-induced crystallization (AIC) of amorphous silicon (a-Si) in a conventional furnace with N2 protection has been studied at reaction temperatures ranging from 200 to 500°C by using optical microscopy, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The a-Si and Al layers were deposited with plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and electron beam evaporation, respectively. The structures in the study are Al/a-Si and a-Si/Al on Si or glass wafers coated with 3000 Å PECVD SiO2. It was found that Al induces crystallization of a-Si for both Al/a-Si and a-Si/Al structures by exchanging positions of Al and Si layer through diffusion of Si into Al and the grain size of crystallized Si (c-Si) increases with the decrease of AIC temperature. AIC for Al/a-Si structures starts at a temperature as low as 200°C, which is 100°C lower than that for a-Si/Al structures. Kinetics analysis found that the activation energies are 1.76 eV and 1.65 eV for both Al/a-Si and a-Si/Al structures, respectively. The quality of AIC c-Si depends on the order, thickness and thickness ratio of a-Si to Al. Microstructural observations indicated that the c-Si for Al/a-Si structures is better and more suitable for use in fabrication of thin film transistors (TFTs) than that for a-Si/Al structures.
Previous work has demonstrated the utility of desorption/ionization on silicon (DIOS) time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) in drug molecule and peptide detection[1-7]. In this work, the utility of DIOS for small molecule detection is established using commercially available porous silicon (por Si)-based target plates for MS. Since the morphology and handling of the substrates can have dramatic effects on the MS characteristics, the development of consistent manufacturing methods and characterization protocols has been central to the production of reproducible target plates. Using sample substrates manufactured in-house, we show that 1) small molecules and protein digests were detected without matrix-related peaks, 2) por Si morphology was optimized for small molecule detection, 3) reproducible DIOS plates were produced, 4) although the target plates were shown to be sensitive to contamination, a consistent cleaning procedure was developed to remove contaminants, and 5) stability and shelf life were characterized as a function of surface derivatization. Dynamic range, sensitivity, quantitation, speed of analysis, solution composition, and automated deposition have also been evaluated and are described in related work[7-9]. Potential applications include high-throughput small molecule assays for drug discovery[10a] and high sensitivity (sub-femtomole) peptide identification for proteomics[10b].
In this work, we report the composition, optical, and electrical properties of a- Si1-YGeY: H, F films to be used as sensing layer in uncooled microbolometers. The a-Si1-YGeY films where Y is Ge content in solid phase were deposited by low frequency PECVD from SiH4 and GeF4 feed gases, and H2 and Ar were used for dilution. The film composition, IR transmission and temperature dependence of conductivity were measured. The reduction of conductivity activation energy from 0.86 eV to 0.39 eV and the increase of room temperature conductivity from 1x10−9 to 2.1×10−3 Ohm−1cm−1 were observed with the change of Y from 0 (Si) to 1(Ge). These results demonstrate this material to be a good candidate as a sensing material in uncooled micro-bolometers, due to its high absorption in the range of λ = 10-13 μm, its relatively high activation energy, Ea=0.4 eV, consequently, a high temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR), and moderate resistivity at room temperature.
Films deposited by the Hot Wire CVD method were studied by means of dark conductivity, FTIR, Hydrogen Evolution, SEM and AFM surface characterization. Three types of metastability were observed: a) long term irreversible degradation due to oxidization processes on the film surface, b) reversible degradation determined by uncontrolled water adsorption, c) fast field switching effect in the film bulk.
Oxygen and hydrogen content and its bonding configurations have been analyzed by hydrogen evolution and infrared spectroscopy methods on the films deposited on glass substrates and silicon wafers subsequently. It has been found that metastable processes close to the film surface are stronger than in the bulk. The switching effect is the fast increase of charge carrier density observed on bottom chromium contacts under a condition of air admittance. We propose this effect is associated with morphology changes during film growth and electrical field induced by adsorbed atmospheric components on the film surface.
We report on direct measurements of surface potentials on cross sections of a-Si:H and a-SiGe:H n-i-p solar cells using scanning Kelvin probe microscopy. External bias voltage (Vb)induced changes in the electric field distributions in the i layer were further deduced by taking the derivative of the Vb-induced potential changes. This procedure avoids the effect of surface charges or surface Fermi-level pinning on the potential measurement. We found that the electric field does not distribute uniformly through the i layer of a-Si:H cells, but it is stronger in the regions near the n and p layers than in the middle of the i layer. The non-uniformity is reduced by incorporating buffer layers at the n/i and i/p interfaces in the a-Si:H solar cells. For a-SiGe:H solar cells, the electric field at the p side of the i layer is much stronger than at the n side and the middle. The non-uniformity becomes more severe when a profiled Ge content is incorporated with a high Ge content on the p side. We speculate that the increase in defect density with increasing of Ge content causes charge accumulation at the i/p interface.
We report the growth of tritium induced defects in tritium doped hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H,T) as measured by electron spin resonance (ESR) and photothermal deflection spectroscopy (PDS). The measurements allow one to examine the accumulation of defects in a-Si:H,T where the defect production mechanism is known. Defects produced by tritium decay are found to be much less numerous than the number of decayed tritium atoms and they are metastable like Staebler-Wronski defects. These results provide new insight into the metastable defect creation and the role of hydrogen motion.