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Soft Underlayers for Next Generation Magnetic Recording Media and Nano Electrostatic Discharge Protection


In this dissertation, two sections were included to present my work. The first section concerns about soft underlayers (SULs) in magnetic recording media, and the other section introduces electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection devices.

Hard disk drives (HDDs) are still being widely used in consumer electronics applications to store information. Due to the scaling down, higher capacity with smaller size HDDs are highly desired in market. Recently, perpendicular recording caused more attention to overcome some of the potential problems with longitudinal recording. The progress from the materials and techniques may make perpendicular recording more competitive. In this dissertation, a novel amorphous SUL CoFeTaZr is discussed for its superior magnetic properties.

ESD is one of the most important reliability problems for ultra-scaled integrated circuit (IC). Transient high voltage (up to tens of kilovolts) and current generated by ESD in a very short time could introduce very high electric field and current across semiconductor devices, which may result in dielectric damage or melting of semiconductors and contacts, which may affect circuit performance, shorten product life time and increase manufacturing and assembling cost. Therefore, it's necessary to design a protection circuit that discharges the ESD. As the scaling down continues, ESD protection design is facing severe challenges.

This dissertation presented two novel ESD protection structures. One is a new nano crossbar array ESD protection device consists of the SixOyNz composite, as dielectric layer between two metal electrodes. This device has extremely-low leakage current, fast response, good uniformity and robust ESD protection, ideal for mobile applications where power consumption is a great concern. The other one is a new non-volatile memory based ESD protection structure, two structures were introduced. One is with layers of nano crystal dots inside the floating gate film, the other one is with nitride floating gate layer in an MOSFET. Both structures has ultra-low leakage current, wide range of triggering voltage, ideal for multiple power domains.

In the last part, design and characterization of shallow trench isolation and poly-gated diode based ESD structures in a foundry 28 nm technology were reported. ESD-protected monitor circuits were used to evaluate chip-level ESD protection.

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