Ferroelectric storage for low-power systems
Wherever data is processed, this information must often also be filed and stored. The strong development towards networked, intelligent systems requires data processing and storage already in decentralised sensor nodes. Important requirements for this are low energy consumption and at the same time short switching and reaction times. In the business unit Center Nanoelectronic Technologies (CNT) of Fraunhofer IPMS, power-saving, non-volatile memories based on ferroelectric hafnium oxide are being researched and transferred to CMOS-compatible semiconductor manufacturing processes for 200 mm and 300 mm wafer sizes. This enables FeFET- and FRAM-based solutions for front-end and back-end integration, respectively.
In contrast to the previously used perovskite-based materials, hafnium oxide-based memories are CMOS-compatible, lead-free and scalable down to very small technology nodes. As the only non-volatile memory concept, ferroelectric memories are operated purely electrostatically and are therefore particularly power-saving, since only the reloading currents of the capacities have to be expended to write data. In addition to their use as pure data storage, ferroelectric components are also suitable for use in hardware-based neuromorphic computing concepts, where it is important to perform computing operations as close to or directly with the memory cells as possible.
For material development and improvement of the technological processes, there is an integrated FeFET test route at the CNT where various optimisations and developments for the integration of ferroelectric materials can be carried out together with partners and customers. This enables the further development of new concepts as well as the continuous improvement of performance parameters, such as power consumption.