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Nature ; 582(7813): 511-514, 2020 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32581381


Decrease in processing speed due to increased resistance and capacitance delay is a major obstacle for the down-scaling of electronics1-3. Minimizing the dimensions of interconnects (metal wires that connect different electronic components on a chip) is crucial for the miniaturization of devices. Interconnects are isolated from each other by non-conducting (dielectric) layers. So far, research has mostly focused on decreasing the resistance of scaled interconnects because integration of dielectrics using low-temperature deposition processes compatible with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors is technically challenging. Interconnect isolation materials must have low relative dielectric constants (κ values), serve as diffusion barriers against the migration of metal into semiconductors, and be thermally, chemically and mechanically stable. Specifically, the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems recommends4 the development of dielectrics with κ values of less than 2 by 2028. Existing low-κ materials (such as silicon oxide derivatives, organic compounds and aerogels) have κ values greater than 2 and poor thermo-mechanical properties5. Here we report three-nanometre-thick amorphous boron nitride films with ultralow κ values of 1.78 and 1.16 (close to that of air, κ = 1) at operation frequencies of 100 kilohertz and 1 megahertz, respectively. The films are mechanically and electrically robust, with a breakdown strength of 7.3 megavolts per centimetre, which exceeds requirements. Cross-sectional imaging reveals that amorphous boron nitride prevents the diffusion of cobalt atoms into silicon under very harsh conditions, in contrast to reference barriers. Our results demonstrate that amorphous boron nitride has excellent low-κ dielectric characteristics for high-performance electronics.

Nat Commun ; 10(1): 987, 2019 02 25.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30804336


The original version of this Article contained an error in the spelling of the author Matthew Holwill, which was incorrectly given as Mathew Holwill. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.

Nat Commun ; 10(1): 230, 2019 01 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30651554


Despite a rich choice of two-dimensional materials, which exists these days, heterostructures, both vertical (van der Waals) and in-plane, offer an unprecedented control over the properties and functionalities of the resulted structures. Thus, planar heterostructures allow p-n junctions between different two-dimensional semiconductors and graphene nanoribbons with well-defined edges; and vertical heterostructures resulted in the observation of superconductivity in purely carbon-based systems and realisation of vertical tunnelling transistors. Here we demonstrate simultaneous use of in-plane and van der Waals heterostructures to build vertical single electron tunnelling transistors. We grow graphene quantum dots inside the matrix of hexagonal boron nitride, which allows a dramatic reduction of the number of localised states along the perimeter of the quantum dots. The use of hexagonal boron nitride tunnel barriers as contacts to the graphene quantum dots make our transistors reproducible and not dependent on the localised states, opening even larger flexibility when designing future devices.

ACS Nano ; 12(6): 6117-6127, 2018 Jun 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29790339


Fast-growth of single crystal monolayer graphene by CVD using methane and hydrogen has been achieved on "homemade" single crystal Cu/Ni(111) alloy foils over large area. Full coverage was achieved in 5 min or less for a particular range of composition (1.3 at.% to 8.6 at.% Ni), as compared to 60 min for a pure Cu(111) foil under identical growth conditions. These are the bulk atomic percentages of Ni, as a superstructure at the surface of these foils with stoichiometry Cu6Ni1 (for 1.3 to 7.8 bulk at.% Ni in the Cu/Ni(111) foil) was discovered by low energy electron diffraction (LEED). Complete large area monolayer graphene films are either single crystal or close to single crystal, and include folded regions that are essentially parallel and that were likely wrinkles that "fell over" to bind to the surface; these folds are separated by large, wrinkle-free regions. The folds occur due to the buildup of interfacial compressive stress (and its release) during cooling of the foils from 1075 °C to room temperature. The fold heights measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) prove them to all be 3 layers thick, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging shows them to be around 10 to 300 nm wide and separated by roughly 20 µm. These folds are always essentially perpendicular to the steps in this Cu/Ni(111) substrate. Joining of well-aligned graphene islands (in growths that were terminated prior to full film coverage) was investigated with high magnification SEM and aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as well as AFM, STM, and optical microscopy. These methods show that many of the "join regions" have folds, and these arise from interfacial adhesion mechanics (they are due to the buildup of compressive stress during cool-down, but these folds are different than for the continuous graphene films-they occur due to "weak links" in terms of the interface mechanics). Such Cu/Ni(111) alloy foils are promising substrates for the large-scale synthesis of single-crystal graphene film.

ACS Nano ; 10(12): 11156-11162, 2016 12 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28024355


We report on an insulating two-dimensional material, hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), which can be used as an effective wrapping layer for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates. This material exhibits outstanding characteristics such as its crystallinity, impermeability, and thermal conductance. Improved SERS sensitivity is confirmed for Au substrates wrapped with h-BN, the mechanism of which is investigated via h-BN thickness-dependent experiments combined with theoretical simulations. The investigations reveal that a stronger electromagnetic field can be generated at the narrowed gap of the h-BN surface, which results in higher Raman sensitivity. Moreover, the h-BN-wrapped Au substrate shows extraordinary stability against photothermal and oxidative damages. We also describe its capability to detect specific chemicals that are difficult to analyze using conventional SERS substrates. We believe that this concept of using an h-BN insulating layer to protect metallic or plasmonic materials will be widely used not only in the field of SERS but also in the broader study of plasmonic and optoelectronic devices.

Nano Lett ; 16(5): 3360-6, 2016 05 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27120101


Large-scale growth of high-quality hexagonal boron nitride has been a challenge in two-dimensional-material-based electronics. Herein, we present wafer-scale and wrinkle-free epitaxial growth of multilayer hexagonal boron nitride on a sapphire substrate by using high-temperature and low-pressure chemical vapor deposition. Microscopic and spectroscopic investigations and theoretical calculations reveal that synthesized hexagonal boron nitride has a single rotational orientation with AA' stacking order. A facile method for transferring hexagonal boron nitride onto other target substrates was developed, which provides the opportunity for using hexagonal boron nitride as a substrate in practical electronic circuits. A graphene field effect transistor fabricated on our hexagonal boron nitride sheets shows clear quantum oscillation and highly improved carrier mobility because the ultraflatness of the hexagonal boron nitride surface can reduce the substrate-induced degradation of the carrier mobility of two-dimensional materials.