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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society

Distinguished Lectures

Dr. John D. Cressler

Schlumberger Chair Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
 Georgia Institute of Technology


Radiation Effects in Silicon-Based Heterostructure Device Technologies

Bandgap engineering is a power tool for electronic and photonic device optimization, but until recently it has been the exclusive domain of III-V technologies such as GaAs or InP. The advent of robust epitaxial growth techniques in the silicon material system, however, is generating worldwide interest, because it enables bandgap-engineering on far-more-manufacturable silicon wafers. The most mature of the Si-based heterostructure electronic device platforms is the Silicon-Germanium Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (SiGe HBT). At the present state-of-the-art, SiGe HBTs with frequency response above 300 GHz have been demonstrated, on CMOS foundry compatible 200 mm wafers, and is being practiced commercially around the world. The combination of ultra-high-speed SiGe HBTs with scaled silicon CMOS, to form SiGe HBT BiCMOS technology, represents a unique opportunity for highly-integrated, low-cost, silicon-based system-on-a-chip or system-in-a-package solutions for emerging high-frequency wireless and wireline applications ranging from RF as high as mm-wave frequencies (e.g., to 100 GHz).

Interestingly, SiGe HBTs have been shown to have a built-in tolerance to total-ionizing dose radiation, and are also well-suited for operation down to very low-temperatures (to 4.2 K), and up to very high temperatures (to 300 C), making them very appealing for a wide-variety of emerging extreme environment electronics applications, which might be needed, for instance, in space exploration.

This presentation will focus primarily on radiation effects in SiGe HBT devices and circuits. After an introduction to bandgap engineering, SiGe strained layer epitaxy and its use in SiGe HBT design and fabrication, a detailed assessment of the impact of radiation on SiGe materials, devices, and circuits is presented, including: radiation tolerance; basic damage mechanisms; the effects of different radiation types; technology scaling issues; single event upset mitigation approaches; cryogenic operation; and the future directions of SiGe technology. Finally, recent developments in other Si-based bandgap-engineered electronic devices, including strained-Si CMOS will be discussed, as well as the possibilities of Si-based photonic devices.


photo of Dr. John D. Cressler

John D. Cressler received the B.S. degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, GA in 1984, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics from Columbia University, New York, in 1987 and 1990, respectively. From 1984 to 1992 he was on the research staff at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, and from 1992 to 2002 on the faculty at Auburn University, Auburn, AL. In 2002, he joined the faculty at Georgia Tech, where he is currently Ken Byers Professor of electrical and computer engineering. His research interests include: Si-based (SiGe/strained-Si) heterostructure devices and technology, mixed-signal circuits and systems built from these devices, extreme environment electronics applications (radiation, low and high temperatures), device-to-circuit interactions, noise and reliability physics, device-level simulation, and compact circuit modeling. Dr. Cressler has published over 400 papers related to his research. He is the co-author (with Guofu Niu) of Silicon-Germanium Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors, Artech House, 2003, author of Reinventing Teenagers: the Gentle Art of Instilling Character in Our Young People, Xlibris, 2004, and editor of Silicon Heterostructure Handbook: Materials, Fabrication, Devices, Circuits, and Applications of SiGe and Si Strained-Layer Epitaxy, CRC Press, 2006, and Silicon Earth: Introduction to the Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Revolution, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Dr. Cressler was associate editor for the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (1998-2001), the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (2002-2005), and the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices (2005-present). He has served on numerous IEEE Technical Program Committees, including: ISSCC, BCTM, IEDM, Si RF, WOLTE, ISTDM, ISDRS, NSREC, MTT, IRPS, and ECS. He was the Technical Program Chair of the 1998 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, the Conference Co-chair of the 2004 IEEETopical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems, and the Technical Program Chair of the 2007 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference. He serves as an IEEE Electron Device Society (1994-present) and IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Distinguished Lecturer (2006-present), and was awarded the 1994 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award for his SiGe research program, the 1996 C. Holmes MacDonald National Outstanding Teacher Award by Eta Kappa Nu, the 1996 Auburn University Alumni Engineering Council Research Award, the 1998 Auburn University Birdsong Merit Teaching Award, the 1999 Auburn University Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, the 2007 Georgia Tech Outstanding Faculty Leadership in the Development of Graduate Students Award, and an IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000. He was elected IEEE Fellow in 2001 “for contributions to the understanding and optimization of silicon and silicon-germanium bipolar transistors.”

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