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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Graphene as tunable contact for high performance thin film transistor

  • Author(s): Liu, Yuan
  • Advisor(s): Huang, Yu
  • et al.

Graphene has been one of the most extensively studied materials due to its unique band structure, the linear dispersion at the K point. It gives rise to novel phenomena, such as the anomalous quantum Hall effect, and has opened up a new category of “Fermi-Dirac” physics. Graphene has also attracted enormous attention for future electronics because of its exceptional high carrier mobility, high carrier saturation velocity, and large critical current density. However, graphene has zero intrinsic band gap, thus can not be used as the active channel material for logic transistors with sufficient on/off current ratio. Previous approaches to address this challenge include the induction of a transport gap in graphene nanostructures or bilayer graphene. However, these approaches have proved successful in improving the on– off ratio of the resulting devices, but often at a severe sacrifice of the deliverable current density. Alternatively, with a finite density of states, tunable work-function and optical transparency, graphene can function as a unique tunable contact material to create a new structure of electronic devices.

In this thesis, I will present my effort toward on-off ratio of graphene based vertical thin film transistor. I will include the work form four of my first author publication. I will first present my research studies on the a dramatic enhancement of the overall quantum efficiency and spectral selectivity of graphene photodetector, by coupling with plasmonic nanostructures. It is observed that metallic plasmonic nanostructures can be integrated with graphene photodetectors to greatly enhance the photocurrent and external quantum efficiency by up to 1,500%. Plasmonic nanostructures of variable resonance frequencies selectively amplify the photoresponse of graphene to light of different wavelengths, enabling highly specific detection of multicolours. Then I will show a new design of highly flexible vertical TFTs (VTFTs) with superior electrical performance and mechanical robustness. By using the graphene as a work-function tunable contact for amorphous indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) thin film, the vertical current flow across the graphene-IGZO junction can be effectively modulated by an external gate potential to enable VTFTs with a highest on-off ratio exceeding 105. The unique vertical transistor architecture can readily enable ultrashort channel devices with very high delivering current and exceptional mechanical flexibility. Furthermore, I will, demonstrate a new design strategy for vertical OTFT with ultra-short channel length without using conventional high-resolution lithography process. They can deliver a high current density over 1.8 A/ cm2 and thus enable a high cutoff frequency devices (~ 0.4 MHz) comparable with the ultra-short channel organic transistors. Importantly, with unique vertical architecture, the entire organic channel material is sandwiched between the source and drain electrodes and is thus naturally protected to ensure excellent air-stability. Finally I will present a new strategy by using graphene as the back electrodes to achieve Ohmic contact to MoS2. With a finite density of states, the Fermi level of graphene can be readily tuned by a gate potential to enable a nearly perfect band alignment with MoS2. For the first time, a transparent contact to MoS2 is demonstrated with zero contact barrier and linear output behaviour at cryogenic temperatures (down to 1.9 K) for both monolayer and multilayer MoS2. Benefiting from the barrier-free transparent contacts, we show that a metal-insulator-transition (MIT) can be observed in a two-terminal MoS2 device, a phenomenon that could be easily masked by Schottky barriers found in conventional metal-contacted MoS2 devices. With further passivation by boron nitride (BN) encapsulation, we demonstrate a record-high extrinsic (two-terminal) field effect mobility up to 1300 cm2/V s in MoS2 at low temperature. These findings can open up exciting new opportunities for atomically thin 2D semiconductors as well as other conventional semiconductors in general.

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