Startup offers carbon-on-Si wafers for RF

January 12, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Carbonics Inc. (Marina del Ray, Calif.), a startup founded in 2014, is offering first access to its carbon nanotube (CNT) technology in the form of carbon-on-silicon and carbon-on-quartz wafers that the company claims will allow RF performance beyond that of gallium arsenide.

Carbonics claims that CNT devices can be 30x more linear and 1000x more power efficient than gallium arsenide. The so-called 'zebra' wafers are 100mm in diameter and include a 1nm monolayer of self-aligned CNT material. However, active usable area is just 20mm by 30mm at the center of the wafer.

Making circuits using CNTs can exploit the quasi-ballistic one-dimensional electronic transport and achieve superior RF performance in terms of efficiency and linearity while retaining CMOS compatibility, the company claims.  In the case of the zebra wafers in silicon substrates the CNT is on top of either 1500nm (Zebra Dash) or 15nm (Zebra Bolt) deep layers of silicon dioxide.

The thicker insulating substrate is used for top-gated devices such as memory, switch, logic and RF applications covering L-Band to millimeter wave and 3G, 4G, 4G, WiFi, 802.11ad and WiGig spectrums. The thinner insulating layer is used for back-gated device applications such as sensors and detectors. The quartz substrate wafers, known as Zebra Sprint, are aimed at RF applications up to 100GHz.

Wafer prices are $875 for Zebra Bolt and Dash and $975 for Zebra Sprint.

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