The Resonant Body Transistor
With quality factors (Q) often exceeding 10,000, vibrating micromechanical resonators have emerged as leading candidates for on-chip versions of high-Q resonators used in wireless communications systems, sensor networks, and clocking sources in microprocessors. However, extending the frequency of MEMS resonators generally entails scaling of resonator dimensions leading to increased motional impedance. In this dissertation, I introduce a new transduction mechanism using dielectric materials to improve performance and increase frequency of silicon-based RF acoustic resonators. Traditionally, electrostatically transduced mechanical resonators have used air-gap capacitors for driving and sensing vibrations in the structure. To increase transduction efficiency, facilitate fabrication, and enable GHz frequencies of operation, it is desirable to replace air-gap transducers with dielectric films. In my doctoral work, I designed, fabricated, and demonstrated dielectrically transduced silicon bulk-mode resonators up to 6.2 GHz, marking the highest acoustic frequency measured in silicon to date. The concept of internal dielectric transduction is introduced, in which dielectric transducers are incorporated directly into the resonator body. With dielectric films positioned at points of maximum strain in the resonator, this transduction improves in efficiency with increasing frequency, enabling resonator scaling to previously unattainable frequencies. Using internal dielectric transduction, longitudinal-mode resonators exhibited the highest frequency-quality factor (f.Q) product in silicon to date at 5.1 x 10 exp(13) s exp(-1) . These resonators were measured by capacitively driving and sensing acoustic vibrations in the device. However, capacitive detection often requires 3-port scalar mixer measurement, complicating monolithic integration of the resonators with CMOS circuits. The internal dielectric bulk-mode resonators can be utilized in a 2-port configuration with capacitive drive and piezoresistive detection, in which carrier mobility is dynamically modulated by elastic waves in the resonator. Piezoresistive sensing of silicon-based dielectrically transduced resonators was demonstrated with 1.6% frequency tuning and control of piezoresistive transconductance gm by varying the current flowing through the device. Resonant frequency, determined by lithographically defined dimensions, was demonstrated over a wide frequency range. These degrees of freedom enable acoustic resonators spanning a large range of frequencies on a single chip, despite design restrictions of the CMOS process. As we scale to deep sub-micron (DSM) technology, transistor cut-off frequencies increase, enabling the design of CMOS circuits for RF and mm-wave applications greater than 60 GHz. However, DSM transistors have limited gain and integrated passives demonstrate low Q, resulting in poor efficiency. A successful transition into DSM CMOS requires enhanced-gain and high-Q components operating at microwave frequencies. In this work, a merged NEMS-CMOS device is introduced that can function as a building block to enhance the performance of RF circuits. The device, termed the Resonant Body Transistor (RBT), consists of a field effect transistor embedded in the body of a high-frequency NEMS resonator implementing internal dielectric transduction. The results of this work indicate improved resonator performance with increased frequency, providing a means of scaling MEMS resonators to previously unattainable frequencies in silicon. With the transduction methods developed in this work, a hybrid NEMSCMOS RBT enables low-power, narrow-bandwidth low noise amplifier design for transceivers and low phase-noise oscillator arrays for clock generation and temperature sensing in microprocessors.
dissertation or thesis