Epitaxial germanium via Ge:C and its use in non-classical semiconductor devices



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The microelectronics industry has been using Silicon (Si) as the primary material for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip fabrication for more than six decades. Throughout this time, these CMOS devices have gotten exponentially smaller, faster, and cheaper. While new materials and fabrication processes have been slowly added over the years, the CMOS device of today is largely the same as it was decades ago. However, field-effect transistors (FETs) have now scaled so far that Si is approaching physical limits. Thus, new channel materials and new fundamental device structures are being investigated to replace traditional CMOS.

Germanium is one of the prime candidates to replace Si in the FET channel, with its increased electron and hole mobilities compared to Si. Perhaps more importantly, it is compatible with the existing Si manufacturing techniques by epitaxially growing thin layers of Ge crystal on the starting Si wafer. Because these two crystals do not share a lattice constant, there will inevitably be crystal defects in the thin Ge layer that can be catastrophic for device functionality. Several approaches have been introduced to reduce defects, but most of them are wastefully thick (>1 um) or require complex manufacturing methods. In this work, we utilize an extremely thin (~10 nm) buffer layer of carbon-doped Ge (Ge:C) to grow Ge and SiGe layers for FET and virtual substrate applications with improved crystalline quality and reduced surface roughnesses.

These thin Ge layers not only offer new pathways for MOSFETs, but can also be used in non-classical structures. Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) and tunnel-FETs (TFETs) are two of the most promising device architectures, and both can be used with Ge. This dissertation presents a simulated Si/Ge heterostructure interface TFET that can be fabricated on a virtual substrate made with the Ge:C buffer layer. Detailed analysis on device operation is given. Also in this work is the fabrication process for individually addressable Ge NW-FETs. The NWs offer excellent electrostatic gate control through reduced dimensions and offer another potential pathway for Ge in a post-CMOS world.