PITA Fiscal Year 2010 Projects - Information and Systems Technology

Resistive switching materials and devices for reconfigurable RF electronics

Principal Investigators: J. A. Bain, P.A. Salvador

Complex oxides and metal/oxide heterojunctions can exhibit nonvolatile bipolar resistive (and capacitive) switching, and are of interest as the functional elements in novel electronic devices, such as high-density memories and reconfigurable electronics, including tunable RF circuits. Because the OFF/ON ratio in some structures can be as high as 107, a value approaching the OFF/ON ratio of a MOSFET, they can be used in reconfigurable RF circuits that are tunable in the GHz frequency range. A less explored functionality is the capacitance switching that such resistive switches also exhibit, another aspect that can potentially provide functionality to tunable RF circuits. Commercialization efforts have, however, been hampered by several important issues, including the large variations in switching magnitude between different types of materials, the reproducibility within nominally similar switches, and the scalability of the phenomenon. Moreover, little focus has been expended on quantifying their behavior in RF operation. To solve these major problems, the CMU team will quantitatively determine the mechanisms responsible for resistive/capacitive switching, will develop low-cost, scalable structures for resistive/capacitive switching applications, and will explore their functionality in reconfigurable RF applications, focusing on applications of interest to the DARPA funded MISCIC program and to the Pennsylvania company Nokomis, Inc. The group at CMU has developed both experimental and computational approaches at identifying the basic physical mechanisms and at modeling the behavior of switches in circuit environments. Nokomis, Inc. develops and markets pre-eminent electromagnetic products for the defense industry, and is interested in frequency agile RF materials, devices, circuits, and systems. This proposal will provide the necessary support to develop strong ties in Western Pennsylvania between the materials and circuit development communities at Carnegie Mellon University and the producers of electromagnetic devices and systems at Nokomis, Inc, ultimately strengthening Pennsylvania’s competitiveness in the RF circuits and reconfigurable electronics community.