UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Saptarshi Das has been awarded $360,00 by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to work on contact engineering for nanotransistors based on two-dimensional (2D) materials, which will improve the performance of electronic devices.
Das, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, received the funds through the AFOSR’s Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) as part of his three-year research project titled “Investigation of Scalability and Reliability of Contacts to Two Dimensional Layered Semiconductors.”
2D materials are drawing considerable attention as future candidates for energy-efficient electronic, optoelectronic and energy-harvesting devices, owing to their superior electronic properties. Contacts provide the communication link between an electronic material and the outside world, but when contacts are miniaturized for nanomaterials, fundamental challenges arise.
First-generation prototypes of 2D devices showed compelling evidence for high performance when used as various transistors. However, as investigators move on to the second generation of 2D devices and start to shrink the device dimensions in order to further increase performance, the contact resistance of nanocontacts increases significantly. This resistance limits the scalability of devices and makes them thermally unreliable, leading to performance degradation and ultimately, device failure.
To address these problems, Das is working to develop low-resistance, scalable and reliable contacts through two methods: metal-2D interface engineering, which will use an ultra-thin, insulating 2D layer of optimal thickness between the metal and the 2D semiconductor, and metal-2D hybridization engineering, which uses high pressure to reduce the resistance.
Das will also investigate the characterization of metal-2D contacts under extreme operating conditions, including radiation exposure and high temperatures, which could be beneficial for defense electronic devices.
The Air Force YIP supports scientists and engineers who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The objective of the program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.
DAS was one of 58 scientists and engineers from 41 research institutions and small businesses to receive funding from the AFOSR YIP for the 2017 fiscal year.