Simulation Program Predicts Resistivity in Nanodevices

January 17, 2006

As nanoscale circuits continue to shrink, electrical resistivity increases in the wiring and limits the maximum circuit speed. A new simulation program developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and George Washington University can be used to predict such increases with greater input flexibility and model accuracy than other methods. The software program is expected to help the semiconductor industry design and test devices more efficiently and with greater cost-effectiveness.

On average, an electron can travel only 39 nanometers in pure, bulk copper at room temperature before it is scattered by thermal vibrations of the copper atoms. But, as the dimensions of the wiring shrink, additional scattering by surfaces and grain boundaries within the metal lead to undesirable increases in resistivity. The NIST/GWU computer program, described in a recent paper in Microelectronics Reliability,* enables users to examine how these additional mechanisms alter the resistivity of the thin, narrow metal lines that make up the circuit wiring.

As described in the journal article, NIST researchers used the simulation program to demonstrate that, at critical nanoscale dimensions, electron scattering from surfaces and grain boundaries have effects that are interdependent. This interdependence could not be predicted using methods previously available. The finding has implications for both achievable circuit speed and electrical measurements of the dimensions of thin, narrow lines.

* A.E. Yarimbiyik, H.A. Schafft, R.A. Allen, M.E. Zaghloul, D.L. Blackburn. 2005. Modeling and simulation of resistivity of nanometer scale copper. Microelectronics Reliability. Posted online Dec. 19.

Source: NIST

Explore further: Researchers mine information from next-generation subsurface flow simulations

Related Stories

Honeypots versus hackers

August 21, 2015

Production processes are becoming increasingly interconnected with digital communications technologies, opening new gateways for criminals operating on the Internet. The IT Security Technology Field at Siemens Corporate Technology ...

'Snowball earth' might be slushy

August 3, 2015

Imagine a world without liquid water—just solid ice in all directions. It would certainly not be a place that most life forms would like to live.

Unlocking lignin for sustainable biofuel

July 7, 2015

Turning trees, grass, and other biomass into fuel for automobiles and airplanes is a costly and complex process. Biofuel researchers are working to change that, envisioning a future where cellulosic ethanol, an alcohol derived ...

Intelligent life in the universe? Phone home, dammit!

June 15, 2015

We've been conditioned by television and movies to accept the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. "Of course there's intelligent life out there; I saw it last week on Star Trek." We've seen it all, from ...

Recommended for you

Scientists paint quantum electronics with beams of light

October 9, 2015

A team of scientists from the University of Chicago and the Pennsylvania State University have accidentally discovered a new way of using light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits in a unique class of materials ...

A mission to a metal world—The Psyche mission

October 9, 2015

In their drive to set exploration goals for the future, NASA's Discovery Program put out the call for proposals for their thirteenth Discovery mission in February 2014. After reviewing the 27 initial proposals, a panel of ...

Could 'The Day After Tomorrow' happen?

October 9, 2015

A researcher from the University of Southampton has produced a scientific study of the climate scenario featured in the disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.