Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Microelectronics-Photonics (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Gregory J. Salamo

Committee Member

Laurent Bellaiche

Second Committee Member

Jerzy Krasinski

Third Committee Member

Jacques Chakhalian

Fourth Committee Member

Ken Vickers

Abstract

Advances in material science have resulted in the development of electrically nonlinear high dielectric thin film ferroelectrics, which have led to new opportunities for the creation of novel devices. This dissertation investigated one such device: a low voltage nonlinear transmission line (NLTL). A finite element simulation of ferroelectric transmission lines showed that NLTLs are capable of creating shockwaves. Additionally, if the losses are kept sufficiently low, it was shown that voltage gain should be possible. Furthermore, a method of accounting for material dispersion was developed. Results from simulations including material dispersion showed that temporal solitons might be possible from a continuous ferroelectric based nonlinear transmission line.

Fabrication of a thin film ferroelectric NLTL required the growth of a ferroelectric material on a conductive substrate. Barium titanate (BTO), which has been gaining popularity due to its high dielectric constant, strong nonlinearity, and lack of lead, was grown. Molecular beam epitaxy and sol-gel growth were both explored and sol-gel was chosen as the growth method for the final device, in part due to its ability to grow BTO thin films on highly conductive nickel substrates. Samples approximately 330 nm thick were grown by this method. Oxygen vacancies in the as grown BTO films were filled by annealing in low pressure oxygen environments. X-ray diffraction measurements were used to determine an O2 pressure for oxidation that was slightly less than the pressure at which NiO forms to ensure maximum filling of the vacancies in the BTO. Grown samples were successfully shown to have ferroelectric properties.

A lumped element transmission line was fabricated using discrete capacitors and inductors with a sample as described above. Test capacitors were fabricated and used to determine the dielectric constant of the BTO thin film. This was used to select capacitor pad sizes and inductor values to create a 50 Ohm line. The substrate was mounted to a chip carrier which was subsequently soldered to a printed circuit board with the appropriate inductors. The device was characterized electrically and the results were compared to the simulation results.

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