Transistors made from nanocarbon materials have the potential to revolutionize electronics. Carbon nanotubes are perfect semiconducting or metallic 1-dimensional wires and graphene sheets are showing record breaking electron mobility.
The challenge in building high performance electronic devices from carbon nanotubes or graphene lies in integrating them into circuits without destroying their unique properties. In particular, when creating nanocarbon transistors for wireless applications making an efficient gate electrode has proven difficult.
One way to improve performance is to create freestanding 3-dimensional gate structures. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult using conventional photolithography or electron beam lithography. This instructable will show a fast and easy way how to create a suspended gate electrode for high frequency nanoelectronics.
Step 1: Preparations
What you need to get started:
- Chunk of graphite
- Scotch tape
- Silicon wafer
- Microscopes: optical, AFM, SEM
- Clean room facilities
- Focused ion beam (handy but not absolutely necessary)
Making graphene is fairly straightforward: take a piece of graphite and rub it over the silicon wafer. Then use the scotch tape to peel of layers until you end up with a single layer left on the substrate. You can check the process with an optical microscope: if the layer is only barely visible anymore you have (probably) succeeded.
Step 2: Lithography
Step 3: Metallization
Step 4: Bridging
The gate electrode is going to be formed from the metal covering the resist on top of the graphene sheet. In order to support it a thick bridge like structure needs to be created. This can be done conveniently by focused ion beam (FIB) induced metal deposition:
A organic precursor gas is decomposed by the focused Ga-ion beam resulting in local deposition of a conducting compound. The metal covered resist layer protects the sensitive graphene sheet from any gallium ion implantation or irradiation damage.
(In principle it is also possible, yet more difficult, to achieve this in a second lithography process.)
Step 5: Release
In order to create a well defined gate electrode the to-be-suspended part of the metal layer is separated from the adjacent parts. This is done using the high energy ion beam to mill cuts through the metal layer.
Step 6: Lift-off
The resist and surplus metal is removed using a suitable solvent; e.g. acetone (so called [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift-off_(microtechnology) lift-off] process). The result is a graphene field effect transistor (FET) for radio frequency applications.
- Special precaution stepsprecaution steps might be necessary to prevent capillary forces during drying from collapsing the bridge
- Performance can be increased further when the graphene sheet itself is subsequently suspended by etching away the sacrificial layer
Step 7: Proof of Concept
The micrographs shows a suspended structure demonstrating the feasibility of the method. It is notable, that the structure withstood dicing and lift-off without any special precautions.