Hafnia-Zirconia Ferroic Materials and Devices

Access to nanoscale ferroic materials in advanced semiconductor nodes will revolutionize integrated microsystems by substantial diversification of on-chip functionalities beyond baseline circuits. Examples of these functionalities are ferroelectric memories and logics, ferroelastic optical switches and modulators, piezoelectric sensors and actuators, pyroelectric energy harvesters, and magnetoelectric spintronics.

The discovery of ferroelectricity in fluorite oxides / wurtzite nitrides has augured the emergence of the long-coveted CMOS ferroic materials. Atomic-layer-deposited hafnia-zirconia are already used, in amorphous form, as high-k dielectrics in advanced semiconductor nodes. Once subjected to proper atomic engineering, and within a limited thickness range, these fluorite-structured oxides take meta-stable polar crystalline forms with outstanding ferroic properties. This unique characteristic, along with the perfect CMOS compatibility, has motivated extensive material and device engineering research to optimize hafnia-zirconia films for diverse ferroic applications.

At Tabrizian lab, we explore hafnia-zirconia ferroic materials and their device applications. We are developing materials, based on ALD, to provide large piezoelectric, pyroelectric or magnetoelectric effects. These materials enable creation of integrated nano-scale sensors, actuators, and resonators with unprecedented performance. This research thrust is sponsored by various projects from DARPA and industry.

  1. T. Tharpe, X. Zheng, P. Feng, and R. Tabrizian, “Resolving Mechanical Properties and Morphology Evolution of Free-Standing Ferroelectric Hf0.5Zr0.5O2,” Advanced Engineering Materials, 23 (12), 2101221, Dec. 2021. [Main Cover Featured, December 2021 Issue]
  2. T. Tharpe, F. Hakim, and R. Tabrizian, “In-Plane Bulk Acoustic Resonators Using 50nm-Thick Nano-Laminated Ferroelectric Hf0.5Zr0.5O2,” 21st International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (Transducers), 2021, pp. 313-316. [Outstanding Paper Award]
  3. M. Ghatge, G. Walters, T. Nishida, and R. Tabrizian, “An ultrathin nanoelectromechanical transducer based on hafnium zirconium oxide,” Nature Electronics, 2 (8), pp. 506-512.