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Presentation on theme: "THE PLANAR DEFLECTRON Geoffrey H. Grayer BSc PhD"— Presentation transcript:

A micro-engineered amplifier and logic device.

2 Contents Introduction - what is planar deflectron?
Principles of operation; Switch and Amplifier Evolution Planar Construction and Fabrication Unique special features IPR position Seed funding objectives Summary

3 Introduction The Deflectron idea is being developed at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory by a collaboration between the Detector Group of the Instrumentation Department and the Central Microstructure Facility. I was the instigator of the idea, but it is of course a team effort, with particular thanks to Bob Stevens, Zheng Cui and Ejaz Huq.

4 What it is - A vacuum device (like a sub-miniature tube/valve) which acts as an amplifier or logic element It uses field emission instead of a heated cathode It deflects the electron path rather than trying to modulate the current (like a television tube)= Deflectron It is constructed in one plane for simplicity and connectivity= Planar

5 Principle of Operation
Extractor produces high electric field on cathode Hence cathode emits electrons according to the Field Effect A triplet of focus electrodes alter final spot size Signal applied to deflection plates move beam Split anode collects electrons Conventional construction would work from the tip up, using cylindrical symmetry Model by Z. Cui showing electron tracks for one set of parameters.

6 How it evolved For at least 20 years people have been trying to realise a field-effect amplifier Usually an attempt has been made to produce the analogy of a triode vacuum tube with a 3-D cylindrical shape (see fig) They have not worked because the potential of electrons produced by a field emitter is typically x100 that of a thermionic emitter, reducing gain by that amount. Hence typical valve stage gain 30 becomes 0.3 ! A scanning electron microscope picture of a conventional 2- gate field emitter. This represents “state of the art” (photo CLRC)

7 The Noise Issue The variation in emission current is typically 10% from a field emitter. This is noise superposed on the signal, and would make any amplifying application untenable My solution to this is to create 100% feedback by adding a suitable resistor in the cathode circuit (R=dVg/dIa) Having fixed the current one cannot amplitude modulate the electron beam. The solution is to deflect it - hence the name Deflectron!

8 Conventional 3D Cylindrical Construction
3D device fab would be extremely complex, requiring many processes to build up the structure This gets even more difficult when the focus and deflection electrodes are added, breaking cylindrical symmetry. When anodes added on top, closed volume is almost impossible to evacuate. They are difficult to connect with electrodes all at different levels A scanning electron microscope picture of a conventional 2- gate field emitter. This represents “state of the art” (CLRC device)

9 Planar Construction To see how the planar device evolved, imagine a slice taken through the middle of the cylindrical device. Construction is then simple lithography of metal, plus the tip fabrication. Simplified layout of Deflectron

10 Fabrication issues Single layer device -planar
Critical process is production of pointed cathode emitter in plane Principle yield defining step: Direct EBL defines point in plane Plasma etch defines point at right angles to plane All other fabrication processes are ‘conventional’ VLSI patterning in refractory metal

11 Schematic Diagram A1, A2: anodes D1, D2: deflector F1: focus H
F2: focus V F3:focus H E: extractor K: field emitting cathode

12 Characteristics of Planar Deflectron
Can work as amplifier or logic element Amplifier has gain/dynamic range trade-off, set by voltage parameters Small size means very fast (fo = 1~10GHz) Complementary signals in/out with high common mode rejection - benefit is external noise/spike rejection Coupling can be DC as only reacts to voltage difference benefit - broadband operation to10GHz Power consumption very low and independent of speed or state Simple few-step fabrication

13 The Deflectron as Logic Element
Focused to a spot, the current rapidly changes from one anode to another, producing the ideal binary switch These switches may be connected in series to carry out the usual Boolean logic functions A tri-state device may be produced by introducing a third central anode which is connected straight to +V. Thus devices can be multiplexed to the same bus. Tri-state device

14 The Deflectron as Amplifier
Defocused at the anode, the current varies slowly as the beam is deflected, resulting in a analogue amplifier By varying the spot size, gain is traded against dynamic range, according to application

15 Gain of the Deflectron The Gain of the Deflectron depends on:
~ 1/ extractor voltage (“stiffness”) ~ integrated deflecting E-field: ~ Length of deflector plates ~ 1/ Spacing of deflector plates ~ drift length (“lever arm”) ~ spot size (adjustable by focus) (In principle, there is no limit on the drift length.)

16 Unique Special Features
This is not expected to replace the ubiquitous transistor, but to go where no transistor dares! It will work at very high temperatures - eg NASA Venus lander ? (max. is melting point!) It will work at temperatures approaching absolute zero - eg quantum microdot readout (This could be important commercially) It will work in very high radioactivity - eg particle physics experiments, nuclear industry It has high noise rejection because of complimentary in/out signals

17 IPR: The idea of deflecting electrons is not new
It looks like a miniature electrostatic CRT, with the screen replaced by anodes Deflection - modulated electronic tubes (valves) were made and patented by RCA in the 1960s. Their high dynamic range made them excellent mixers. Its use as a vacuum micro-electronics device for generating microwaves has been suggested However, this particular application and the planar construction are novel

18 IPR position No filings submitted to-date
Public disclosure in scientific publication: Technical Digest, 10th International Vacuum Microelectronics Conference, August 17-21,1997, Kyongju, S. Korea, p.206, G.H.Grayer, S.E.Huq, Z.Cui, P.D.Prewett If go-ahead, need urgent review of What may be protected Search of existing IPR in the field

19 Seed funding objectives
Identify & complete PCT patent applications to secure IPR of embodiment & fabrication processes Define & characterise pointed cathode process Demonstrate field emission from pointed cathode + incorporation in planar device structure Production of planar deflectron demonstrator Characterisation of complete fab process steps Electrical characterisation of proof-of-principle demonstrator

20 Seed funding required to produce proof-of-principle demonstrator
Estimated £70k

21 Summary The Deflectron is:
A very wide band amplifier or switch (0 to many GHz) Capable of operating over extremes of temperature (cryogenic to high temperatures) Extremely radiation hard Extremely resistant to EMI Very rugged Simple and hence cheap to construct (= high yield) Could be realised with a relatively low capital investment

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