This dissertation presents experimental and theoretical studies of physical phenomena in micro- and nano-electronic devices. Firstly, a novel and unproven means of electromechanical actuation in a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) cantilever was investigated. In nearly all MEMS devices, electric forces cause suspended components to move toward the substrate. I demonstrated a design with the unusual and potentially very useful property of having a suspended MEMS cantilever lift away from the substrate. The effect was observed by optical micro-videography, by electrical sensing, and it was quantified by optical interferometry. The results agree with predictions of analytic and numerical calculations. One potential application is infrared sensing in which absorbed radiation changes the temperature of the cantilever, changing the duty cycle of an electrically-driven, repetitively closing micro-relay. Secondly, ultra-thin high-k gate dielectric layers in two 22 nm technology node semiconductor devices were studied. The purpose of the investigation was to characterize the morphology and composition of these layers as a means to verify whether the transmission electron microscope (TEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) could sufficiently resolve the atomic diffusion at such small length scales. Results of analytic and Monte-Carlo numerical calculations were compared to empirical data to validate the ongoing viability of TEM EDS as a tool for nanoscale characterization of semiconductor devices in an era where transistor dimensions will soon be less than 10 nm.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Rezadad, Imen, "Electromechanical Lifting Actuation of a MEMS Cantilever and Nano-Scale Analysis of Diffusion in Semiconductor Device Dielectrics" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5019.