Past REU Participants & Project Pages

2006 REU Porjects
2006 REU Projects
2006 Participant: Daniel X. Lobo
Project Title: Dry Gold Etching for Molecular Electronics

Faculty Advisor: Nathan Swami, Zena Martin
Electronic components are constantly getting smaller. Devices are approaching the stage where the gates are less than 100nm. This however poses some new problems that are associated with this small scale. As gate size is reduced below the 100nm mark, the device is increasingly more subject to the effects of quantum mechanics, such as tunneling currents. Furthermore, many of these devices, such as transistors, that are stacked generate a tremendous amount of heat. These adverse effects prohibit proper function of the device and must be overcome to further continue on the miniaturization trend of electronic components. Molecular electronics looks to build the next generation of electronics using a few molecules to store and manipulate data. These devices will hopefully overcome the problems that are faced by devices fabricated using current device structures and methods. While the technology is not yet fully developed, there is enough information and expertise to experiment with it. Molecular electronics will allow for a higher device density than previously possible, which will allow faster and more sensitive electronic components to be produced.
The argon etch has proved to be a more consistent etch. It also worked with an image reversal resist which makes it more flexible. Right now the argon etch, with an RIE power of 200W shows the best results of all the etches that were tried. The masking resist is also easier and quicker to remove than the one used for the CF4 etch. The etch has not yet been tried on an actual device, and this needs to be done to make sure that the etch is not somehow damaging the other layers in the device structure.
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