Solid-state Memory on Flexible Silicon for Future Electronic Applications

  • Mohamed T. Ghoneim

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Advancements in electronics research triggered a vision of a more connected world, touching new unprecedented fields to improve the quality of our lives. This vision has been fueled by electronic giants showcasing flexible displays for the first time in consumer electronics symposiums. Since then, the scientific and research communities partook on exploring possibilities for making flexible electronics. Decades of research have revealed many routes to flexible electronics, lots of opportunities and challenges. In this work, we focus on our contributions towards realizing a complimentary approach to flexible inorganic high performance electronic memories on silicon. This approach provides a straight forward method for capitalizing on the existing well-established semiconductor infrastructure, standard processes and procedures, and collective knowledge. Ultimately, we focus on understanding the reliability and functionality anomalies in flexible electronics and flexible solid state memory built using the flexible silicon platform. The results of the presented studies show that: (i) flexible devices fabricated using etch-protect-release approach (with trenches included in the active area) exhibit ~19% lower safe operating voltage compared to their bulk counterparts, (ii) they can withstand prolonged bending duration (static stress) but are prone to failure under dynamic stress as in repeated bending and re-flattening, (iii) flexible 3D FinFETs exhibit ~10% variation in key properties when exposed to out-of-plane bending stress and out-of-plane stress does not resemble the well-studied in-plane stress used in strain engineering, (iv) resistive memories can be achieved on flexible silicon and their basic resistive property is preserved but other memory functionalities (retention, endurance, speed, memory window) requires further investigations, (v) flexible silicon based PZT ferroelectric capacitors exhibit record polarization, capacitance, and endurance (1 billion write-erase cycles) values for flexible FeRAMs, uncompromised retention ability under varying dynamic stress, and a minimum bending radius of 5 mm, and (vi) the combined effect of 225 °C, 260 MPa tensile stress, 55% humidity under ambient conditions (21% oxygen), led to 48% reduction in switching coercive fields, 45% reduction in remnant polarization, an expected increase of 22% in relative permittivity and normalized capacitance, and reduced memory window (20% difference between switching and non-switching currents at 225 °C).
Date of AwardNov 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMuhammad Mustafa Hussain (Supervisor)


  • Flexible electronics
  • Reliability
  • Memory
  • FinFETs
  • Ferroelectric
  • Stress

Cite this