RF and THz electronic devices

On-chip all-electronic nanoplasma device that enables picosecond switching of high-power electric signals

The evolution of electronics has generally relied on reducing the device size to increase their speed and integration. However, as the channel length is reduced, classic electronic devices face fundamental limitations  that hinder exploiting materials to their ultimate potential. The benefits of shrinking are counterbalanced by the detrimental effects from parasitic resistances and capacitances, which limit their frequency and output power.

In our group, we aim to challenge such traditional limitations by investigating novel types of devices, based on new principles and materials that could enable the next generation of ultrafast semiconductor devices.

For example, we demonstrated a novel on-chip all-electronic device concept based on integrated nano-scale plasma that enables picosecond switching of high-power electric signals. We achieved an ultra-fast switching speed, about two orders of magnitude larger than that of field-effect transistors and more than 10x-fold faster than the current fastest electronic switch. This work was published in Nature.

We then demonstrated the concept of electronic metadevices applied to GaN devices. The devices operate on the basis of electrostatic control of collective electromagnetic interactions at deep subwavelength scales, as an alternative to controlling the flow of electrons in traditional devices, which resulted in extraordinary electronic properties. We demonstrated cutoff frequency figure-of-merit well beyond ten terahertz, record high conductance values, extremely high breakdown voltages and picosecond switching speeds. This work has been published in the journal Nature.

In addition, we make use of RF techniques and fast electronic measurements to investigate novel aspects of devices and materials. For example, as show in our nature electronics paper, using ultra-fast electronic measurements, we could reveal novel properties of vanadium dioxide, such as electronically accessible long-lived structural states that can provide a scheme for data storage and processing:

Relevant publications:

  1. M. S. Nikoo and E. Matioli, “Electronic metadevices for terahertz applications” Nature 614, 451–455 (2023).
  2. M. S. Nikoo, A. Jafari, N. Perera, M. Zhu, G. Santoruvo and E. Matioli, “Nanoplasma-Enabled Picosecond Switches for Ultra-Fast Electronics”, Nature, 2020
  3. M. S. Nikoo, R. Soleimanzadeh, A. Krammer, G. M. Marega, Y. Park, J. Son, A. Schueler, A. Kis, P. J. W. Moll and E. Matioli, “Electrical control of glass-like dynamics in vanadium dioxide for data storage and processing”, Nature Electronics, 2022
  4. M. S. Nikoo, A. Jafari, R. Van Erp and E. Matioli, “Kilowatt-range Picosecond Switching Based on Microplasma Devices,” IEEE Electron Device Letters, 2021
  5. G. Santoruvo, M. Samizadeh Nikoo and E. Matioli, “Broadband Zero-Bias RF Field-Effect Rectifiers Based on AlGaN/GaN Nanowires,” IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, 2020
  6. G. Santoruvo and E. Matioli, “In-Plane-Gate GaN Transistors for High-Power RF Applications“, IEEE Electron Device Letters, 2017