Monday, July 20, 2015

The Ferroelectric Memory Company - FCM from Dresden

The FeFET is a long-term contender for an ultra-fast, low-power and non-volatile memory technology. In these devices the information is stored as a polarization state of the gate dielectric and can be read non-destructively as a shift of the threshold voltage. The advantage of a FeFET memory compared to the Flash memory is its faster access times, much lower power consumption at high data rates, and the easy integration of the device with common high-k metal gate transistors in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. 

The basics of the idea of a were already laid in the early 2000s in the research department of the memory manufacturer Qimonda. The discovery of ferroelectricity in doped hafnium led there to the registration of several basic patents, which went to NaMLab gGmbH after the Qimonda insolvency.  


In 2013 the proof of principle of a hafnium based ferroelectric field effect transistor (FeFET) memory cell on 28nm technology platform was manufactured at Globalfoundries Fab1 and Fraunhofer CNT in Dresden. There is a hope that the successful commercialization of such an embedded NVM memory technology could have disruptive character.

During the last years the electrical properties of ferroelectric transistors were studied in detail. In the framework of a project together with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Fraunhofer CNT, which was funded by the Free State of Saxony, silicon doped HfO2 layers were integrated into high-k metal gate transistors in 28 nm CMOS technology. Depending on the polarization state of the ferroelectric gate insulator a memory window in the range of ~1.2 V threshold voltage shift can be reached. Extrapolation of the measured memory window over time indicates a retention time of 10 years with a remaining memory window of 0.4 V. Functional devices with gate length down to ~30 nm were demonstrated.

Today Stefan Müller, Marko Noack and Jörg Andreasas a the team has started The Ferroelectric Memory Company - FCM and currently they are anchored to NaMLab gGmbH and benefits from a The EXIST Research Transfer-financing and support and mentorship by one of the leading semiconductor memory experts Prof. Thomas Mikolajick (Scientific director of NaMLab).


TEM of FeFET processed in 28 nm high-k metal gate CMOS Technology (left) and 2D TCAD-model for device simulation (right). (Picture from NaMLab)



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