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High Efficiency Electronics for Space Applications

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The Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) has high potential to enter analog and RF applications due to their high breakdown voltage and switching frequency characteristics. These MESFET devices could

The Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) has high potential to enter analog and RF applications due to their high breakdown voltage and switching frequency characteristics. These MESFET devices could allow for high voltage analog circuits to be integrated with low voltage digital circuits on a single chip in an extremely cost effective way. Higher integration leads to electronics with increased functionality and a smaller finished product. The MESFETs are designed in-house by the research group led by Dr. Trevor Thornton. The layouts are then sent to multi-project wafer (MPW) integrated circuit foundry companies, such as the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service (MOSIS) to be fabricated. Once returned, the electrical characteristics of the devices are measured. The MESFET has been implemented in various applications by the research group, including the low dropout linear regulator (LDO) and RF power amplifier. An advantage of the MESFET is that it can function in extreme environments such as space, allowing for complex electrical systems to continue functioning properly where traditional transistors would fail.

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  • 2015-05

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Characterization of Silicon MESFETs for Mixed Signal and RF Electronics

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MESFETs are used in high frequency applications and are typically made from GaAs. Dr. Trevor Thornton designed a silicon-on-insulator MESFET \u2014 a cheaper alternative with competitive capabilities. This paper concerns

MESFETs are used in high frequency applications and are typically made from GaAs. Dr. Trevor Thornton designed a silicon-on-insulator MESFET \u2014 a cheaper alternative with competitive capabilities. This paper concerns the characterization and modeling of this device to exhibit its marketability as a CMOS integrated transistor. Overviews of the MESFET's history and DLTS (deep level transient spectroscopy) are offered.

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  • 2014-05

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CMOS MESFET Cascode Amplifiers for RFIC Applications

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There is an ever-increasing demand for higher bandwidth and data rate ensuing from exploding number of radio frequency integrated systems and devices. As stated in the Shannon-Hartley theorem, the maximum

There is an ever-increasing demand for higher bandwidth and data rate ensuing from exploding number of radio frequency integrated systems and devices. As stated in the Shannon-Hartley theorem, the maximum achievable data rate of a communication channel is linearly proportional to the system bandwidth. This is the main driving force behind pushing wireless systems towards millimeter-wave frequency range, where larger bandwidth is available at a higher carrier frequency. Observing the Moor’s law, highly scaled complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technologies provide fast transistors with a high unity power gain frequency which enables operating at millimeter-wave frequency range. CMOS is the compelling choice for digital and signal processing modules which concurrently offers high computation speed, low power consumption, and mass integration at a high manufacturing yield. One of the main shortcomings of the sub-micron CMOS technologies is the low breakdown voltage of the transistors that limits the dynamic range of the radio frequency (RF) power blocks, especially with the power amplifiers. Low voltage swing restricts the achievable output power which translates into low signal to noise ratio and degraded linearity. Extensive research has been done on proposing new design and IC fabrication techniques with the goal of generating higher output power in CMOS technology. The prominent drawbacks of these solutions are an increased die area, higher cost per design, and lower overall efficiency due to lossy passive components. In this dissertation, CMOS compatible metal–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MESFETs) are utilized to put forward a new solution to enhance the power amplifier’s breakdown voltage, gain and maximum output power. Requiring no change to the conventional CMOS process flow, this low cost approach allows direct incorporation of high voltage power MESFETs into silicon. High voltage MESFETs were employed in a cascode structure to push the amplifier’s cutoff frequency and unity power gain frequency to the 5G and K-band frequency range. This dissertation begins with CMOS compatible MESFET modeling and fabrication steps, and culminates in the discussion of amplifier design and optimization methodology, parasitic de-embedding steps, simulation and measurement results, and high resistivity RF substrate characterization.

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  • 2019

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MESFET optimization and innovative design for high current device applications

Description

There will always be a need for high current/voltage transistors. A transistor that has the ability to be both or either of these things is the silicon metal-silicon field effect

There will always be a need for high current/voltage transistors. A transistor that has the ability to be both or either of these things is the silicon metal-silicon field effect transistor (MESFET). An additional perk that silicon MESFET transistors have is the ability to be integrated into the standard silicon on insulator (SOI) complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process flow. This makes a silicon MESFET transistor a very valuable device for use in any standard CMOS circuit that may usually need a separate integrated circuit (IC) in order to switch power on or from a high current/voltage because it allows this function to be performed with a single chip thereby cutting costs. The ability for the MESFET to cost effectively satisfy the needs of this any many other high current/voltage device application markets is what drives the study of MESFET optimization. Silicon MESFETs that are integrated into standard SOI CMOS processes often receive dopings during fabrication that would not ideally be there in a process made exclusively for MESFETs. Since these remnants of SOI CMOS processing effect the operation of a MESFET device, their effect can be seen in the current-voltage characteristics of a measured MESFET device. Device simulations are done and compared to measured silicon MESFET data in order to deduce the cause and effect of many of these SOI CMOS remnants. MESFET devices can be made in both fully depleted (FD) and partially depleted (PD) SOI CMOS technologies. Device simulations are used to do a comparison of FD and PD MESFETs in order to show the advantages and disadvantages of MESFETs fabricated in different technologies. It is shown that PD MESFET have the highest current per area capability. Since the PD MESFET is shown to have the highest current capability, a layout optimization method to further increase the current per area capability of the PD silicon MESFET is presented, derived, and proven to a first order.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Optimizing the design of partially and fully depleted MESFETs for low dropout regulators

Description

The constant scaling of supply voltages in state-of-the-art CMOS processes has led to severe limitations for many analog circuit applications. Some CMOS processes have addressed this issue by adding high

The constant scaling of supply voltages in state-of-the-art CMOS processes has led to severe limitations for many analog circuit applications. Some CMOS processes have addressed this issue by adding high voltage MOSFETs to their process. Although it can be a completely viable solution, it usually requires a changing of the process flow or adding additional steps, which in turn, leads to an increase in fabrication costs. Si-MESFETs (silicon-metal-semiconductor-field-effect-transistors) from Arizona State University (ASU) on the other hand, have an inherent high voltage capability and can be added to any silicon-on-insulator (SOI) or silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) CMOS process free of cost. This has been proved at five different commercial foundries on technologies ranging from 0.5 to 0.15 μm. Another critical issue facing CMOS processes on insulated substrates is the scaling of the thin silicon channel. Consequently, the future direction of SOI/SOS CMOS transistors may trend away from partially depleted (PD) transistors and towards fully depleted (FD) devices. FD-CMOS are already being implemented in multiple applications due to their very low power capability. Since the FD-CMOS market only figures to grow, it is appropriate that MESFETs also be developed for these processes. The beginning of this thesis will focus on the device aspects of both PD and FD-MESFETs including their layout structure, DC and RF characteristics, and breakdown voltage. The second half will then shift the focus towards implementing both types of MESFETs in an analog circuit application. Aside from their high breakdown ability, MESFETs also feature depletion mode operation, easy to adjust but well controlled threshold voltages, and fT's up to 45 GHz. Those unique characteristics can allow certain designs that were previously difficult to implement or prohibitively expensive using conventional technologies to now be achieved. One such application which benefits is low dropout regulators (LDO). By utilizing an n-channel MESFET as the pass transistor, a LDO featuring very low dropout voltage, fast transient response, and stable operation can be achieved without an external capacitance. With the focus of this thesis being MESFET based LDOs, the device discussion will be mostly tailored towards optimally designing MESFETs for this particular application.

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  • 2010

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The use of voltage compliant silicon on insulator MESFETs for high power and high temperature pulse width modulated drive circuits

Description

Silicon Carbide (SiC) junction field effect transistors (JFETs) are ideal for switching high current, high voltage loads in high temperature environments. These devices require external drive circuits to generate pulse

Silicon Carbide (SiC) junction field effect transistors (JFETs) are ideal for switching high current, high voltage loads in high temperature environments. These devices require external drive circuits to generate pulse width modulated (PWM) signals switching from 0V to approximately 10V. Advanced CMOS microcontrollers are ideal for generating the PWM signals but are limited in output voltage due to their low breakdown voltage within the CMOS drive circuits. As a result, an intermediate buffer stage is required between the CMOS circuitry and the JFET. In this thesis, a discrete silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal semiconductor field effect transistor (MESFET) was used to drive the gate of a SiC power JFET switching a 120V RMS AC supply into a 30Ω load. The wide operating temperature range and high breakdown voltage of up to 50V make the SOI MESFET ideal for power electronics in extreme environments. Characteristic curves for the MESFET were measured up to 250&degC.; To drive the JFET, the MESFET was DC biased and then driven by a 1.2V square wave PWM signal to switch the JFET gate from 0 to 10V at frequencies up to 20kHz. For simplicity, the 1.2V PWM square wave signal was provided by a 555 timer. The JFET gate drive circuit was measured at high temperatures up to 235&degC.; The circuit operated well at the high temperatures without any damage to the SOI MESFET or SiC JFET. The drive current of the JFET was limited by the duty cycle range of the 555 timer used. The SiC JFET drain current decreased with increased temperature. Due to the easy integration of MESFETs into SOI CMOS processes, MESFETs can be fabricated alongside MOSFETs without any changes in the process flow. This thesis demonstrates the feasibility of integrating a MESFET with CMOS PWM circuitry for a completely integrated SiC driver thus eliminating the need for the intermediate buffer stage.

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Date Created
  • 2010