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La3-xTe4 is a state-of-the-art high temperature n-type thermoelectric material with a previously reported maximum zT∼1.1 at 1273 K. Computational modeling suggests the La atoms play a crucial role in defining the density of states for La3-xTe4 in the conduction band. In addition to controlling charge carrier concentration, substitution with Ca2+ atoms on the La3+ site is explored as a potential means to tune the density of states and result in larger Seebeck coefficients. High purity, oxide-free samples are produced by ball milling of the elements and consolidated by spark plasma sintering. Powder XRD and electron microprobe analysis are used to characterize the material. High temperature thermoelectric properties are reported and compared with La3-xTe4 compositions. A maximum zT of 1.3 is reached at 1273 K for the composition La2.22Ca0.775Te4.
We have demonstrated electrostatic switching in vertically oriented nanotubes or nanofibers, where a nanoprobe was used as the actuating electrode inside an SEM. When the nanoprobe was manipulated to be in close proximity to a single tube, switching voltages between 10 V – 40 V were observed, depending on the geometrical parameters. The turn-on transitions appeared to be much sharper than the turn-off transitions which were limited by the tube-to-probe contact resistances. In many cases, stiction forces at these dimensions were dominant, since the tube appeared stuck to the probe even after the voltage returned to 0 V, suggesting that such structures are promising for nonvolatile memory applications. The stiction effects, to some extent, can be adjusted by engineering the switch geometry appropriately. Nanoscale mechanical measurements were also conducted on the tubes using a custom-built nanoindentor inside an SEM, from which preliminary material parameters, such as the elastic modulus, were extracted. The mechanical measurements also revealed that the tubes appear to be well adhered to the substrate. The material parameters gathered from the mechanical measurements were then used in developing an electrostatic model of the switch using a commercially available finite-element simulator. The calculated pull-in voltages appeared to be in agreement to the experimentally obtained switching voltages to first order.
We have developed manufacturable approaches to form single, vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, where the tubes are centered precisely, and placed within a few hundred nm of 1-1.5 m deep trenches. These wafer-scale approaches were enabled by chemically amplified resists and inductively coupled Cryo-etchers for forming the 3D nanoscale architectures. The tube growth was performed using dc plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), and the materials used for the pre-fabricated 3D architectures were chemically and structurally compatible with the high temperature (700 C) PECVD synthesis of our tubes, in an ammonia and acetylene ambient. Tube characteristics were also engineered to some extent, by adjusting growth parameters, such as Ni catalyst thickness, pressure and plasma power during growth. Such scalable, high throughput top-down fabrication techniques, combined with bottom-up tube synthesis, should accelerate the development of PECVD tubes for applications such as interconnects, nano-electromechanical (NEMS), sensors or 3D electronics in general.
Multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNT) have stable elastic properties over a wide range of deformation amplitudes and their high polarizability is conducive to efficient bending in the inhomogeneous electric field close to patterned electrodes. We simulate the static switching properties of the MWNT using a custom NEMS simulation package. The MWNT is modeled as a solid cylinder with Young�s modulus taken in a range consistent with recent experimental data in the literature. The polarizability of the MWNT is obtained from empirical expressions in the literature. The static equilibrium equations for the bending of the MWNT in an electric field are solved for realistic geometry of the electrodes. The spatial distribution of electric field distribution in the vicinity of the tubes and the electrodes is obtained from a finite element solution of the Poisson equation. A Monte Carlo approach yields the switching voltage as a function of MWNT mechanical properties and electrode geometry, where a Gaussian distribution is assumed for the parametric variations.
Vertically aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) switches are currently being investigated for their application in radiation-hard, high temperature space electronics. Carbon nanotubes are attractive for switching applications since electrostatically-actuated CNT switches have low actuation voltages and power requirements, while allowing GHz switching speeds that stem from the inherently high elastic modulus and low mass of the CNT. Our NEM structure consists of CNTs that are grown using dc plasma-enhanced (PE) chemical-vapor-deposition (CVD) for forming vertically aligned, rigid tubes. A gas mixture of acetylene and ammonia were used for tube growth at a total pressure of a few Torr and temperatures up to 700 °C. We have formed arrays of single, vertically aligned tubes directly on Si, which was enabled by this first report of an optical lithography approach used to generate isolated tubes compared to e-beam lithography that is conventionally used. Vertical NEM switch devices were formed where single, vertically aligned tubes were seen within deep trenches, in close proximity to conducting electrodes.
The electronic structure for a strained silicon quantum well grown on a tilted SiGe substrate is calculated using an empirical tight-binding method. For a zero substrate tilt angle the two lowest minima of the conduction band define a non-zero valley splitting at the center of the Brillouin zone. A finite tilt angle for the substrate results in displacing the two lowest conduction band minima to finite k0 and -k0 in the Brillouin zone with equal energy. The vanishing of the valley splitting for quantum wells grown on tilted substrates is found to be a direct consequence of the periodicity of the steps at the interfaces between the quantum well and the buffer materials.
Self-assembled InAsSb/InGaAs quantum dots are candidates for optical detectors and emitters in the 2–5 micron band with a wide range of applications for atmospheric chemistry studies. It is known that while the energy band gap of unstrained bulk InAs1−xSbx is smallest for x=0.62, the biaxial strain for bulk InAs1−xSbx grown on In0.53Ga0.47As shifts the energy gap to higher energies and the smallest band gap is reached for x=0.51. The aim of the present study is to examine how the electronic confinement in the quantum dots modifies these simple considerations. We have calculated the electronic structure of lens shaped InAs1−xSbx quantum dots with diameter 37 nm and height 4 nm embedded in a In0.53Ga0.47As matrix of thickness 7 nm and lattice matched to an InP buffer. The relaxed atomic positions were determined by minimizing the elastic energy obtained from a valence force field description of the inter-atomic interaction. The electronic structure was calculated with an empirical tight binding approach. For Sb concentrations larger than x=0.5, it is found that the InSb/ In0.53Ga0.47As heterostructure becomes type II leading to no electron confined in the dot. It is also found that the energy gap decreases with increasing Sb content in contradiction with previous experimental results. A possible explanation is a significant variation is quantum dot size with Sb content.
Just as the 40+ years of technology developments associated with the electronic application of semiconductor fabrication processes is “morphing” into a micro-electro- mechanical systems (MEMS) technology in the past dozen years or so, so it seems may the “mature” multilayer ceramic fabrication technology associated with capacitor components and interconnect substrates for the integrated circuit industry, be morphed into MEMS – microsystems technology applications. This paper highlights work underway in Motorola Labs aimed at exploring the potential to develop 3D multilayer ceramic structures to integrate (monolithic and hybrid) multiple functions to create microsystems for wireless, energy and life science applications. By multiple functions, we refer to the ability for a microsystem to perform electronic, fluidic, thermonic, photonic and mechatronic (or actuator) based functions. Current capabilities of the multilayer ceramic materials and processes to achieve integrated functionalities for wireless applications will be described including the development of a new dielectric enabling increased performance for wireless applications. Also to be highlighted will be exploratory microscale fuel cell prototypes exploiting advances in the multilayer ceramic lamination and feature forming technologies enabling the insertion of 3D microchannels for microfluidic functions. These prototypes also feature the ability of the technology to provide thermonic functionality for microreactor devices. Feasibility of a light source that can be integrated into the technology platform hinting at photonic applications will be described. Many materials science and engineering advancements are needed to achieve the potential of this “old” but newly “morphing” technology and some of these will be noted.
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