The Physics Of Ferroelectrics

Tools for a deeper dive into the world of ferroelectric materials.


The physics of ferroelectric materials is a large topic — too large for comprehensive coverage in a single article. While researching my recent article on negative capacitance, I found a number of papers that might be of interest to readers seeking more depth.

Researchers in Japan used ferroelectric BiFeO3 to control the behavior of CaMnO3, a Mott insulator. Changing the polarization of the ferroelectric caused a large change in the insulator’s resistance.

The electrostatics of FeFETs depend on domain wall behavior in the vicinity of the threshold voltage. Researchers in India developed a model around both domain wall movement and nucleation of new domains.

Landau theory is a symmetry-based analysis of equilibrium behavior near a phase transition. It serves as a useful bridge between microscopic models and observed macroscopic behavior, but is not itself sufficient to analyze microscopic phenomena.

Passivating 2-D materials
Researchers at Monash University in Australia have done quite a bit of work on the use of liquid gallium and gallium oxide in protective layers for 2-D materials. Most recently, they demonstrated the use of large-area gallium oxide films to suppress phonon scattering and improve mobility in graphene.

“Cold” electron imaging for higher resolution
Applied Materials announced two new systems based on “cold field” electron beam technology. Cold field emission of electrons is desirable because lower temperatures result in a narrower beam and better image resolution. The company claims that ultra-high vacuum columns — below 10-11 millibar — and a novel tip cleaning mode address the contamination issues that have previously limited cold field systems.

Modeling transition metal silicides
Transition metal silicides are commonly used as source, gate, and drain contacts for CMOS transistors, and are leading candidates for similar applications in emerging devices. This paper investigates the silicide interface formation process, which is highly dependent on microstructure and local chemistry.

Etching without fluorocarbons
Fluorocarbon-based plasmas are widely used for anisotropic silicon dioxide etching because fluorocarbon polymer byproducts serve to passivate and protect feature sidewalls. Unfortunately, the species typically used — such as CF4 and C4F8 — have high global warming potential and long atmospheric lifetimes. This paper evaluates the use of hexafluoroisopropanol as a potential alternative.

Ferroelectrics: The Dream Of Negative Capacitance
First in a series: Why FeFETs and ferroelectric memory are suddenly so interesting.
FeFETs Bring Promise And Challenges
New technology could have an impact on NVM, in-memory processing, and neuromorphic computing.
The Physics Of Ferroelectrics
Tools for a deeper dive into the world of ferroelectric materials.

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