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Ionizing Radiation Effects on Graphene Based Field Effects Transistors

Alexandrou, Konstantinos

Graphene, first isolated in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, is an atomically thin two-dimensional layer of hexagonal carbon that has been extensively studied due to its unique electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties. Its vast potential has led to the development of a wide variety of novel devices such as, transistors, solar cells, batteries and sensors that offer significant advantages over the conventional microelectronic ones.
Although graphene-based devices show very promising performance characteristics, limited has been done in order to evaluate how these devices operate in a radiation harsh environment. Undesirable phenomena such as total dose effects, single event upsets, displacement damage and soft errors that silicon-based devices are prone to, can have a detrimental impact on performance and reliability. Similarly, the significant effects of irradiation on carbon nanotubes indicate the potential for related radiation induced defects in carbon-based materials, such as graphene. In this work, we fabricate graphene field effect transistors (GFETs) and systematically study the various effects of ionizing radiation on the material and device level. Graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) along with standard lithographic and shadow masking techniques, was used for the transistor fabrication. GFETs were subjected to different radiation sources, such as, beta particles (electron radiation), gamma (photons) and ions (alpha, protons and Fe particles) under various radiation doses and energies. The effects on graphene’s crystal structure, transport properties and doping profile were examined by using a variety of characterization tools and techniques. We demonstrate not only the mechanisms of ionized charge build up in the substrate and displacement damage effects on GFET performance, but also that atmospheric adsorbents from the surrounding environment can have a significant impact on the radiation hardness of graphene. We developed different transistor structures that mitigate these effects and performed computer simulations to enhance even further our understanding of radiation damage. Our results show that devices using a passivation layer and a shielded gate structure were less prone to irradiation effects when compared to the standard back-gate GFETs, offering less performance degradation and enhanced stability over prolonged irradiation periods. This is an important step towards the development of radiation hard graphene-based devices, enabling operation in space, military, or other radiation sensitive environments.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kymissis, Ioannis
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 19, 2016
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