Thin Films improve Performance of Ferroelectric Sensors and Semi-conductors

Researchers at Tokyo Tech demystify the ferroelectric properties observed in hafnium-oxide-based thin films, revealing a potentially useful device material.

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The crystal structure of hafnium oxide (HfO2), an inorganic compound, allows it to be deposited in ultra-thin films, which could improve the performance of next-generation sensors and semi-conductors. A thin-film ferroelectric material has been developed by scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

The x-ray diffraction patterns with inclination angle of 45° observed for 0.07YO1.5-0.93HfO2 film measured from room temperature to 600℃. (b) The integrated intensity of the 111 super-spot of 0.07YO1.5-0.93HfO2 film as a function of temperature.
The x-ray diffraction patterns with inclination angle of 45° observed for 0.07YO1.5-0.93HfO2 film measured from room temperature to 600℃. (b) The integrated intensity of the 111 super-spot of 0.07YO1.5-0.93HfO2 film as a function of temperature.

The team explained that ‘ferroelectric’ materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field, meaning they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory.

The team found that one particular epitaxial film, YHO-7, exhibited ferroelectricity with a spontaneous polarization of 45 μC/cm and a Curie temperature of 450 ℃. A Curie temperature of 450 ℃ is extremely promising. The team confirmed that the new thin-film exhibits compatibility with Si-based CMOS and is robust in miniature forms.

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