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Journal of Computational Electronics 1: 289–293, 2002


c 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.

Can the Density Gradient Approach Describe the Source-Drain Tunnelling


in Decanano Double-Gate MOSFETs?

J.R. WATLING, A.R. BROWN AND A. ASENOV


Device Modelling Group, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, University of Glasgow,
Glasgow G12 8LT, Scotland, UK
J.Watling@elec.gla.ac.uk

Abstract. As MOSFETs are scaled into the deep sub-micron (decanano) regime, quantum mechanical confinement
and tunnelling start to dramatically affect their characteristics. It has already been demonstrated that the density
gradient approach can be successfully calibrated in respect of vertical quantum confinement at the Si/SiO2 interface
and can reproduce accurately the quantum mechanical threshold voltage shift. In this paper we investigate the extent
to which the density gradient approach can reproduce direct source-drain tunnelling in short double gate MOSFET
devices.

Keywords: simulation, density gradient, tunnelling, double gate MOSFET

1. Introduction manufacturers (Chau 2001). It is, however, common


wisdom that the scaling of the field effect transistor
As MOSFETs are scaled into the deep sub-micron below this milestone requires intolerably thin gate ox-
regime, quantum mechanical (QM) confinement and ides and unacceptably high channel doping, there-
tunnelling start to dramatically affect their character- fore advocating a departure from the conventional
istics. However, at present, complete quantum sim- MOSFET concept. One of the most promising new de-
ulations involving, for example, Wigner or Green’s vice structures, scalable to dimensions of 10 nm and be-
functions are expensive and therefore not suitable for low is the double or wrap around gate MOSFET. Thus
inclusion within CAD simulation tools. The common it is likely that in these structures direct S-D tunnelling
practice is therefore to introduce economical first-order may become significant. Additionally in a double gate
quantum corrections into conventional drift-diffusion structure the current is essentially one-dimensional,
simulators. This can be accomplished using the well- making theoretical study and calibration easier than
established density gradient (DG) formalism (Ancona in a conventional MOSFET device structure.
and Iafrate 1989). The next section describes the double gate MOSFET
In this paper we use a double gate MOSFET with structure considered in this work. Section 3, describes
simple architecture and gate lengths in the range 30 the now well-established DG formalism, and to what
to 6 nm as vehicle for this study. The paper in- extent this approach may include tunnelling. Our re-
vestigates the extent to which the DG approach can sults and evidence for source-drain tunnelling are pre-
reproduce the phenomena of source-drain (S-D) tun- sented in Section 4, while Section 5 presents our
nelling in extremely short devices. Experimental evi- conclusion and discussions.
dence for S-D tunnelling has been observed (Kawaura
et al. 2000) and manifests itself as a degradation of 2. Double-Gate Structure
the subthreshold current slope and anomalous tem-
perature dependence. Properly scaled conventional Here we have studied an archetypal double gate
MOSFETs with 20 nm channel lengths have al- MOSFET structure, similar in design to that by
ready been demonstrated by leading semiconductor Ren et al. (2000). We have investigated a family of
290 Watling

case of a tunnelling barrier, the additional term acts to


raise the classical conduction band potential profile to
the left of the barrier and lower the classical potential
barrier, for carriers flowing from left to right.
The density gradient approximation maybe derived
in a manner similar to that for deriving the drift dif-
fusion approximation for the Boltzmann Transport
Equation (Snowden 1989). The classical electronic
equation of state is thus modified so that it includes
Figure 1. Schematic representation of the double-gate MOSFET an additional term that is dependent on the gradient of
structure considered in this work. the carrier density:
√  
∇2 n kB T n
double-gate MOSFETs illustrated schematically in 2bn √ = φn − ψ + ln (2)
n q ni
Fig. 1, with channel lengths, L chan , ranging from 30 nm
down to 6 nm, with a width, Wchan , of 30 nm. The where
channel thickness, Tchan , and oxide thickness, tox , are
both fixed at 1.5 nm. The source and drain junctions h̄ 2
are 10 nm and doped at 1 × 1020 cm−3 the channel is bn = .
12 qm ∗n
lightly doped at 1 × 1016 cm−3 .
It is this lightly doped channel, that makes the dou- It remains unclear however, if the approximations re-
ble gate structure resilient to random dopant fluctua- quired in deriving the DG approach remove the ability
tions, which we have studied in another paper (Brown, to be able to model tunnelling phenomena, there stills
Watling and Asenov to be published). remains controversy over whether the DG and other
similar approaches such as effective potential (Ferry,
Akis and Vasileska 2000) can model tunnelling. How-
3. Density-Gradient Formalism ever, it is clear that the DG formalism will be unable to
cope with cases where tunnelling is dependent on the
The density gradient method may be derived from coherent phase behaviour of electrons, as in the case
the one particle Wigner function (Carruthers and of resonant tunnelling. We may therefore consider that
Zachariasen 1983): DG, if it can account for tunnelling, does so in what
may be termed the scattering-dominated limit (Ancona
 ← − −→ 
∂ f (k, r, t) 2 h̄ ∇r ∇k 2001). Here, we have perform a series of numerical
+ v · ∇r f (k, r, t) − V (r) sin experiments to see if DG can, at least qualitatively, ac-
∂t h̄ 2
  count for the impact of source-drain tunnelling on the
∂ f (k, r, t)
× f (k, r, t) = (1) subthreshold I D -VG characteristics of very short dou-
∂t coll ble gate MOSFETs.

Quantum effects are included through the inherently


non-local driving potential in the third term on the 4. Results
left-hand side. Expanding to first order in h̄, so that
only the first non-local quantum term is considered, It has already been demonstrated (Asenov et al. 2001,
has been shown to be sufficiently accurate to model Watling et al. 2001) that the DG approach can be suc-
non-equilibrium quantum transport and also for the cessfully calibrated in respect of vertical quantum con-
inclusion of tunnelling phenomena in particle based finement at the Si/SiO2 interface and can reproduce
Monte Carlo simulators (Tsuchiya and Miyoshi 2000, accurately the QM threshold voltage shift by adjusting
Tsuchiya, Fischer and Hess 2000). The additional, non- the effective mass in the vertical direction. An effec-
classical, quantum correction term may be viewed as a tive mass of 0.19m 0 is found to give the best agreement.
modification to the classical potential and acts like an Here we investigate through a variety of numerical ex-
additional quantum force term in the particle simula- periments the extent to which the DG approach repro-
tions, similar in spirit to the Bohm interpretation. In the duces at least qualitatively the impact of source-drain
Density Gradient Approach 291

tunnelling on the I D -VG characteristics and the sub-


threshold slope in short devices and possibly calibrated
by means of the lateral effective mass.
The short channel lengths and channel thickness
means that quantum effects become significant, thus
making the use of classical simulations untrustworthy.
It is therefore mandatory to include quantum correc-
tions, such as through the DG formalism. The signif-
icance of the quantum effects can clearly be seen in
Figs. 2 and 3.
Figures 2 and 3, show the corresponding classical
and quantum charge density profiles respectively, in
the direction normal to the gate, it can be seen that
the quantum distribution tends to zero at the Si/SiO2
interface while the classical distribution peaks at the Figure 4. I D -VG characteristics for a double gate structure, with
gate lengths ranging from 30 nm down to 6 nm, obtained from our
Si/SiO2 interface.
classical and density gradient simulations. VD = 0.01 V and VG is
applied to both top and bottom gate contacts.

The quantum confinement effects in the DG case


leads to a large quantum mechanically threshold volt-
age shift, (∼0.3 V for the 10 nm channel device), shown
in Fig. 4.
Using a constant value (0.19m 0 ) for the effective
mass in all directions, we observe that the subthresh-
old slope in the DG simulations degrades significantly
as the channel length is decreased, while in the classi-
cal simulations the subthreshold slope remains nearly
constant with channel length. For a channel length of
30 nm the classical and DG subthreshold slopes are
almost identical. However, as the gate length is shrunk
down to 10 nm and below the subthreshold slope degra-
Figure 2. Classical electron concentration profile through the cen-
dation in the DG simulations becomes significant as has
tre of a 30 × 30 × 1.5 nm double-gate MOSFET.
been observed by other researchers (Lundstrom 2001).
All of these observations provide an indication that S-D
tunnelling, is included to some extent in the DG simu-
lations.
Further evidence can be gain by looking at the tem-
perature dependence of the subthreshold slope. Clas-
sical MOSFET theory dictates that the classical sub-
threshold slope S is given by Taur and Ning (1998):
 −1  
d(log10 Ids ) kB T Cdm
S= ≈ 2.3 1+ (3)
dV g q Cox

Thus the classical subthreshold slope depends lin-


early on temperature, as we would expect as the clas-
sical subthreshold current is essentially thermionic in
Figure 3. Quantum (density gradient) electron concentration pro- nature, so it has an approximately exponential depen-
file through the centre of a 30 × 30 × 1.5 nm double-gate MOSFET. dence. However, any current due to tunnelling will have
292 Watling

Figure 7. I D -VG characteristics for and 8 nm channel length dou-


Figure 5. I D -VG characteristics for a 30 nm channel length double ble gate structure obtained from our density gradient simulations, at
gate structure from classical and density gradient simulations, for a 300 K for different lateral effective mass. VD = 0.01 V and VG is
range of temperatures. VD = 0.01 V and VG is applied to both top applied to both top and bottom gate contacts.
and bottom gate contacts.

noticeable degradation of the subthreshold slope in the


DG simulations as compared with the classical sim-
ulations, indicating the existence of a second current
transport mechanism in subthreshold region in addi-
tion to the classical over-barrier (thermionic) current.
This is further supported by the observation that in the
DG simulations the subthreshold slope is nearly inde-
pendent of temperature. These observations are again
consistent with the possibility of a source-drain tun-
nelling current, which is less sensitive to temperature
than a thermionic emission current.
All the results presented so far have been of a qual-
itative nature, as we have assumed the same effective
mass in the lateral direction, as in the vertical direc-
tion. However, the lateral effective mass would need
Figure 6. I D -VG characteristics for an 8 nm channel length double to be calibrated in respect of source-drain tunnelling,
gate structure from classical and density gradient simulations, for a in order to be able to perform quantitative simula-
range of temperatures. VD = 0.01 V and VG is applied to both top tions. We have therefore performed simulations, where
and bottom gate contacts.
we have varied the lateral effective mass, shown in
Fig. 7.
We observe that the increase of the lateral effective
a much weaker dependence on temperature (Kawaura mass results in an increase in the subthreshold slope as
et al. 2000). Figures 5 and 6, show the temperature expected since the equation of state in the DG formal-
dependence of the subthreshold slope in both classical ism (Eq. (2)) becomes more classical-like in the lateral
and DG simulations, for channel lengths of 30 nm and direction. There is also a slight shift in the threshold
8 nm respectively. voltage caused by a mixing affect of the effective mass
We observe here that the temperature dependence of in the vertical and lateral directions.
the subthreshold slope is similar for both the classical
and DG simulations in the 30 nm gate length device,
in agreement with Eq. (3). The shift in the I D -VG is 5. Conclusion
the QM threshold voltage shift caused by quantization
in the vertical direction, as illustrated in Figs. 3 and We have performed a variety of numerical experiments
4. However, for an 8 nm gate length device, there is a to investigate whether the density gradient approach
Density Gradient Approach 293

can model source-drain tunnelling in double gate Acknowledgments


MOSFETs in respect of the subthreshold current
characteristics in decanano scale MOSFETs. A vari- We gratefully acknowledge the helpful and useful
ety of double gate MOSFETs, with channel lengths discussions with Prof. Mark Lundstrom, Dr. Dejan
ranging from 30 nm to 6 nm have been studied. We Jovanovic, Dr. Mario Ancona and Dr. Anant Anantram.
observe that as the channel length is reduced, there is a JRW would like to acknowledge the support of EPSRC
corresponding reduction in the subthreshold slope, in under grant no GR/L53755. SHEFC Research Devel-
line with the available experimental evidence (Kawaura opment Grant VIDEOS provided support for ARB.
et al. 2000). The temperature dependence of the sub-
threshold slope has also been studied, it is observed
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