German Research Foundation (DFG)
(Numerical Toolkit for Design and Analysis of CMOS FET based Terahertz Detectors)
Support Code: DFG CH 407/5-1
Pfeiffer, Ullrich, Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
High Frequency Systems in Communications Technology / Terahertz-Technology, Automotive Radar Systems
Contrary to the common belief, silicon field-effect transistors (FETs) may very well operate beyond their cut-off frequency. In fact, even low- silicon NMOS transistors have recently been used for the implementation of terahertz imaging focal plane arrays. The push of such devices towards terahertz frequencies, though, presents both challenges and opportunities for emerging applications. Silicon technologies could spur economic growth in the safety, health-care, environmental and industrial control area, as well as in security applications. Unlike any other terahertz technology, silicon circuits can be highly integrated and can be fabricated at extremely low cost and high volumes. However, the circuit design tools currently available lack adequate circuit simulators and models, which can provide an in-depth understanding of the underlying detection principles including the interaction with other circuit elements. In particular, there is currently no design tool available, which can adequately predict the non-quasi-static operation of such a circuit beyond the cut-off frequency of its building elements. This project, therefore, develops the necessary simulation tools to overcome such limitations. This involves numerical modeling of the relevant device transport equations, thermal noise, 2D/3D geometry effects, doping profiles, and the interface to the open-source and commercially available circuit simulators such as NGSPICE and SpecteRF. The developments will finally enable the design and the optimization of complex silicon-based terahertz circuits and applications.