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PHANTOMS Computational Hub: a new tool for modelling and design of nanoscale electron devices

May 15th, 2002

Nanoelectronics represents a strategic technology considering the wide range of possible applications such as Computing, Communications or Consumer electronics. In the semiconductor industry, Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology will certainly continue to have a predominant market position even after 2012. However, there are still a number of technological challenges, which have to be tackled if CMOS is to reach the 35nm channel length and 108 transistors per cm2 as predicted for 2012. This may offer opportunities for alternative nanodevices which may be integrated on a CMOS chip and enhance its functionality.

Emerging technology devices that could be considered as possible nanoelectronic circuit elements are for example Single electron tunnelling (SET) devices, Molecular nanoelectronics or Quantum computing. However, many of the potential nanoelectronic applications still require substantial work in order to be transformed into marketable technology. Therefore, research and development has to be quick enough to meet industrial requirements and to determine which technique is applicable for large-scale integrated circuits.

Within this objective, modelling behaviour of these possible nanodevices and in particular, molecular modelling, is becoming more and more important and should allow to:

  • Visualise what happens inside a device
  • Optimise the devices under study
  • Improve understanding of device physics

The main objective of the PHANTOMS network on Nanoelectronics (funded by the European Union under the IST programme) is to provide both researchers and industry access to the tools needed to create a multidisciplinary community and maintain them at the forefront of the nanoelectronics revolution. Therefore, the new PHANTOMS computational hub, launched in April 2002, is a repository of simulation codes useful for modelling and design of nanoscale electron devices, promoting the application of computational science to nanotechnology. Many groups in universities and research centers have developed advanced simulation software, which could be of interest for the general nanotechnology community: the mission of the PHANTOMS hub is to become the virtual venue where many of these codes can be run by registered users, sharing insights and comparing results. To make this initiative successful, contributions from researchers active in the field of modelling of nanoscale structures and devices are solicited. At this stage, 10 codes such as MCDot (Monte Carlo simulator for single-electron circuits) are already available and authors who wish to contribute their codes need only to provide the executables (in the form of Linux binaries) and a LaTeX document (with encapsulated PostScript figures) containing a tutorial.

More information on this software Hub initiative is available in the PHANTOMS WEB site or by contacting directly Massimo Macucci (

Related links:

IST Programme
PHANTOMS Network & here

By Antonio CORREIA (CMP Cientifica, Coordinator of the PHANTOMS Network)

Reprinted with permission.

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