UCD ECE: Nanoscale Physics, Devices and Computation

While the development of computers with billion-transistor microprocessors has been evolutionary in the Moore’s law sense, it has been revolutionary in many other ways. Scaling to nanometer dimensions has blown the lid off our view of device physics based on drift and diffusion. Sophisticated simulations have shown that electron velocities in 22-nm MOSFET’s are 3X the so-called saturated velocity “limit”, and a new bottom-up understanding of ultra-scaled devices based on Landauer theory and quantum transport has been developed. Revolutionary advances in magnetic storage based on giant magnetoresistance and other newly discovered effects have also enabled today’s electronics, and this success has spurred interest in exploring electron spin for developing radically new ways of computing. As a result, a search for materials that could provide tailorable spin-dependent transport, such as graphene, transition-metal dichalcogenides and other 2D layered materials, has begun; and new approaches to nanoscale computing are being explored.

The goal of this course is to introduce graduate students in engineering and science to the basic concepts and current research in nanoscale physics, devices and computation. The focus is on gaining a basic understanding of physical mechanisms and new approaches at the nanoscale and their applications to nanoelectronics. The material is self-contained: prior study of electron device physics and quantum mechanics is NOT required. The course will begin with a review of conventional MOSFETs; elementary quantum mechanics and other background material will be introduced as needed.