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Inﬂuence of imperfections on the dynamical response in model quantumcellular automata

I. I. Yakimenko, I. V. Zozoulenko, C.-K. Wang,

a)

and K.-F. Berggren

b)

Department of Physics and Measurement Technology, Linko¨ ping University, S-58183 Linko¨ ping, Sweden

Received 6 October 1998; accepted for publication 27 January 1999

The time-dependent behavior of quantum cellular automata

QCA

with imperfections is examined.We have studied a chain of quantum cells with the imperfections introduced by

i

variations of intercellular distances,

ii

variations of intercell tunneling strengths, and

iii

stray charges. We ﬁndthat imperfections like these may easily impair the switching properties of semiconductor basedQCAs. ©

1999 American Institute of Physics.

S0021-8979

99

04109-2

I. INTRODUCTION

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in theidea of new nanometer-scale electronic devices — quantumcellular automata

QCA

.

1–6

In principle, devices of this kindexhibit all the advantages of quantum mechanically operateddevices with locally interconnected architecture. Conse-quently, they are expected to possess smaller size and higheroperational speed in comparison with traditional electronicsemiconductor devices for computing.The idea of QCA is based on using a unit cell consistingof quantum dots as building blocks for regular arrays of Cou-lomb coupled cells. The bistability of the cells is achieved bytwo electrons occupying each cell. The state in a cell may beswitched by means of the Coulomb interactions with elec-trons belonging to the neighboring cells. As a result, thepropagation of a signal along the system can be realized inthe absence of direct transfer of charges between cells whichin turn promises to the low power consumption and highoperational speed of these devices.Recently, the dynamic behavior of QCA has been inves-tigated in the case of weak

4

and strong

5

coupling to the en-vironment. The results of those studies clearly show that asuccessful operation of these kinds of arrays depends cru-cially on the dissipative environment which allows an arrayto relax quickly into its ground state. In Refs. 4 and 5 mostlythe dynamics of

regular

arrays was considered. In reality,however, semiconductor QCAs are never free from fabrica-tion imperfections. Therefore, the intriguing question ariseshow such imperfections affect the proper operation of QCAs.Furthermore, the study of imperfections is obviously linkedwith such problems as possible unidirectionality and meta-stability of QCAs systems which are widely discussed in theliterature.

7,8

To solve these problems and in view of the op-erational model of QCAs, one should therefore consider thedynamics directly rather than focusing on the steady-statecalculations. In this article, we will describe the inﬂuence of imperfections stemming from:

i

changes of intercellulardistance,

ii

changes of the height of the interdot barriers,and

iii

presence of stray charges. In Sec. II, the model of chains of quantum cells with imperfections is outlined. Theresults of our numerical study of the inﬂuence of imperfec-tions on the dynamical response of QCA and their discussionare presented in Sec. III. Some concluding remarks are foundin Sec. IV.

II. MODEL

We consider a chain of quantum cells consisting of adriver cell on the left end and a number of other quantumcells interacting electrostatically. The unit cell of the chain isformed by quantum dots in the corners of a square, contain-ing two electrons

Fig. 1

. Each cell possesses two equivalentquantum states corresponding to the electrons placed in agiven diagonal of square. Any such displacement is called‘‘polarization’’ of the cell.

1

This polarization can be regu-lated by external driving forces, for instance, by change of the polarization of the driver cell.Following the lines of the original articles,

1,2

we willdescribe each cell by the extended Hubbard-type Hamil-tonian

H

m

,

E

0,

m

V

m

nˆ

m

,

m

,

L

m

1,

m

aˆ

m

1,

†

aˆ

m

,

aˆ

m

,

†

aˆ

m

1,

m

E

Q

nˆ

m

,

↑

nˆ

m

,

↓

m

m

,

,

V

Q

nˆ

m

,

nˆ

m

,

R

m

R

m

.

1

Here

aˆ

m

,

(

aˆ

m

,

†

) is the operator of annihilation

creation

of an electron in dot

m

with spin

;

nˆ

m

,

is the number operatorfor the

m

th dot;

E

0,

m

is the on-site energy at dot

m

deﬁned bythe other sources, for example, by applied voltages at thedriver cell

below we put

E

0,

m

E

0

and let

E

0

0 for thereference energy

and

V

m

is the potential energy of an elec-tron in dot

m

due to the presence of the charges in other cellsand other charges which can occur in the vicinity of a cell

the so-called ‘‘stray charges’’

.The parameters

L

m

1,

m

,

E

Q

and

V

Q

represent the elec-tron tunneling between nearest neighboring dots within onecell, the Hubbard energy, and the Coulomb interaction be-

a

Present address: Dept. of Physics, Shandong Teacher’s University, Jinan,Shandong, 250014, P.R. China.

b

Electronic mail: kfb@ifm.liu.seJOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS VOLUME 85, NUMBER 9 1 MAY 1999

65710021-8979/99/85(9)/6571/6/$15.00 © 1999 American Institute of Physics

tween electrons in two different dots, respectively. At last,

R

m

R

m

is the distance between dots

m

and

m

in units of

a

, the distance between two adjacent dots. The imperfectionsenter into the Hamiltonian

Eq.

1

through the parameters

V

m

and

L

m

1,

m

which incorporate the effects of changes of intercellular distance and the inﬂuence of the stray charges(

V

m

) and the interdot tunneling (

L

m

1,

m

).Our analysis of the dynamical response of chain of cellsis based on the solution of the conventional time-dependentSchro¨dinger equation for each cell

5

i

t

t

H

t

.

2

Expanding the wave function

(

t

)

in a complete set of eigenstates

t

for two electrons with opposite spins occu-pying four dots in a cell

t

b

t

t

,

3

we arrive in the energy representation to the eigenvalueequation

H

t

E

t

t

4

which is valid for arbitrary time

t

, when the energy of thesystem is equal to

E

(

t

). The dependence of energy on

t

isdriven by an external ﬁeld that varies with time

for example,by the ﬁeld appearing due to a prescribed change of thepolarization of the driver cell

.Furthermore, using expansion

3

and introducing thephenomenological terms to describe the processes of inelas-tic scattering by means of decay constant

, we obtain thefollowing set of ordinary differential equations for the time-dependent expansion coefﬁcients

b

(

t

)

db

t

dt

iE

t

b

t

2

b

t

,

2,. . .,16,

db

1

t

dt

iE

1

t

b

1

t

A

iA

,

5

where

A

1

b

1

*

t

b

1

t

b

1

*

t

b

1

t

2

Im

b

1

t

.The quantity of our interest which have to be calculatednumerically is the polarization of the

j

th cell (

j

1,. . . ,

N

)which is deﬁned according to

1,2

as

P

j

t

1

j

t

3

j

t

2

j

t

4

j

t

1

j

t

3

j

t

2

j

t

4

j

t

,

6

where

m j

(

t

) is the expectation value of the number operatorfor dot

m

in

j

th cell

m j

t

t

nˆ

m j

t

.

7

Here

(

t

)

is the wave function for the cell of number

j

. Inthe process of calculations, we choose the cell

j

1 as thedriver and we assume that the polarization of the driver

P

1

(

t

) is changed linearly with time from one prescribedvalue at

t

0 to another prescribed value at

t

, the switchtime of the driver.For a more detailed description of the model, we referthe readers to our previous article.

5

III. NUMERICAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONA. Variations of the intercellular distances

To study the inﬂuence of the irregularities in the spatialdisplacement of the cells on the dynamics we take Hamil-tonian

1

with

L

m

1,

m

L

, specifying the potential

V

m

as

V

m

V

m

t

j

m

V

Q

m

j

t

R

j

,

m

R

i

,

m

,

8

where

j

i

. This expression deﬁnes the potential at site

m

in

i

th cell due to the charges in all other cells

j

,

is a ﬁxedpositive charge with magnitude (1/2)

e

which is introducedfor providing electroneutrality of the cell. It is essential toensure charge neutrality. If not, our simulations show thatproper switching cannot be achieved.In the case when there is a spacing error

defect

some-where in the chain this is reﬂected in

V

m

. This leads to aslight deviation of the Hamiltonian for the regular chain andthe main question arises how much the defects of this kindwill inﬂuence the temporal evolution of the polarization.Consider a cell which is placed relatively far away from theleft driving cell, which, at some moment, is made to changeits polarization. Obviously, such a cell experiences a weakerforce from its left neighbor than from the right one and, as aresult, it can loose the possibility to follow the polarizationof the left cell, i.e., the chain does not switch into the newstate as the polarization of the driver is changed. What is thelimit of the deviation in the intercellular distances for whichthe chain still switches properly? This quantitative questioncan be answered by direct calculations of the temporal evo-lution for each particular case of the system of a certainlength.Thus, in this article, we study the time-dependent behav-ior of the polarization in the chains containing three and sixcells, taking the regular intercellular distance equal to 68 nm,and the decay time

3.5 ps. The parameters involved inEq.

1

are evaluated using the simple two-dimensional para-bolic conﬁnement potential

5

as

L

0.038 meV,

E

Q

8.53meV, and

V

Q

1.7 meV. We assume that the polarization of the driver cell is changed linearly from 0 to

1 and from

1to

1 to mimic a real switching process. The timestep ischosen small enough to ensure convergence. The results of the calculations for a chain containing six cells are shown inFigs. 2 and 3. Figure 2

a

corresponds to the case when thedistance between the ﬁfth and sixth cells exceeds the inter-

FIG. 1. Schematic diagram of a chain of cells. The left most cell is chosenas a driver cell. If the two electrons occupy dots 1 and 3

or 2 and 4), thepolarization is deﬁned as

P

1

or

1).

6572 J. Appl. Phys., Vol. 85, No. 9, 1 May 1999 Yakimenko

et al.

cellular distance by 10%, i.e., the irregular spacing is placedbetween the two cells at the end of the chain. In this case, thecells maintain good switching properties in spite of the pres-ence of a spacing error at the end of chain. However, if weput the defect in the middle of the chain, the switching prop-erties of the ﬁrst and second cells are still satisfactory whilethe switching of the remaining cells fails totally

Fig. 2

b

.Finally, the situation is changed drastically if we put thespacing error in the beginning of the chain, i.e., between thedriver cell and its nearest neighbor: in this case the opera-tional capability of a chain as a whole disappears

Fig. 2

c

.At the same time, if the spacing error is scaled down to 5%in the middle of the chain

Fig. 3

a

and to 1% in the be-ginning of the chain

Fig. 3

b

, the chain switches well and

FIG. 2. Inﬂuence of the irregularities of intercellular distance on the time-dependent behavior of the polarization for a chain consisting of six cells.The distance between nearest neighboring dots is

a

34 nm. The initialdistance between dots in nearest neighboring cells is

d

2

a

68 nm. Theparameters

L

,

E

Q

, and

V

Q

are 0.038, 8.53, and 1.70 meV, respectively. Aspacing error of

10%(

d

→

1.1

d

) is introduced between

a

the ﬁfth andsixth cells,

b

third and fourth cells, and

c

ﬁrst

driver

and second cells.FIG. 3. Same as Fig. 2 but a spacing error of

a

5% between the thirdand fourth cells and

b

1% of regular distance between the driver andsecond cell.FIG. 4. Same as Fig. 2 but for a chain of three cells. The spacing(

d

→

1.35

d

).

6573J. Appl. Phys., Vol. 85, No. 9, 1 May 1999 Yakimenko

et al.

scribd