Silicon technology has had a dramatic impact on the world economy over the past few years and is the driving force behind the explosion in electronic applications. There is currently no rival to silicon electronics technology and it is predicted to remain the dominant technology for the foreseeable future.
The technology has been driven by an ability to continually reduce the size of transistors within CMOS circuitary, whilst simultaneously increasing their switching speed and reducing the power consumption per element. Coupled with improvements in manufacturing technology that allow the silicon industry to reliably produce chips on dinner plate sized wafers (with 450 mm diameter wafers coming soon), this has led to exponential increases in memory density and processor speed together with an exponential decrease in cost per function. However, simple CMOS scaling can not go on for ever, so future technology generations are looking to new materials, such as silicon germanium alloys, and new architectures, such as silicon-on-insulator.
Silicon technology is also progressively moving into new applications as novel silicon-based technologies are developed, such as microsystems, silicon-based photonics, spintronics, bioMEMS and even refrigerators.
As dimensions shrink to the nanometre range, and the range of applications broadens, silicon-based technology requires increasing input from the academic community and the Warwick Nano-Silicon Group is committed to playing a central role, both in the UK and on the world stage. Most of our work is in collaborative projects with partners from UK and other European universities, advanced research institutes such as IMEC and LETI, and from industry.
Our specific expertise is in:
-Epitaxial growth of Si, SiGe alloys and Ge layers by MBE and CVD, including n- and p-type doping for both active regions and strain-tuning buffer layers
-Structural characterisation of layers, including XRD, TEM, SIMS and ellipsometry