Hierarchically built gold nanoparticle supercluster arrays as charge storage centers for enhancing the performance of flash memory devices
V. Suresh, D. Y. Kusuma, P. S. Lee, F. L. Yap, M. P. Srinivasan, and S. Krishnamoorthy
Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 279-286, 2015
Flash memory devices with high-performance levels exhibiting high charge storage capacity, good charge retention, and high write/erase speeds with lower operating voltages are widely in demand. In this direction, we demonstrate hierarchical self-assembly of gold nanoparticles based on block copolymer templates as a promising route to engineer nanoparticle assemblies with high nanoparticle densities for application in nanocrystal flash memories. The hierarchical self-assembly process allows systematic multiplication of nanoparticle densities with minimal increase in footprint, thereby increasing the charge storage density without an increase in operating voltage. The protocol involves creation of a parent template composed of gold nanoclusters that guides the self-assembly of diblock copolymer reverse micelles which in turn directs electrostatic assembly of gold nanoparticles resulting in a three-level hierarchical system. Capacitance–voltage (C–V) measurements of the hierarchical nanopatterns with a metal–insulator–semiconductor capacitor configuration reveal promising enhancement in memory window as compared to nonhierarchical nanoparticle controls. Capacitance–time (C–t) measurements show that over half the stored charges were retained when extrapolated to 10 years. The fabrication route can be readily extended to programmed density multiplication of features made of other potential charge storage materials such as platinum, palladium, or hybrid metal/metal oxides for next generation, solution-processable flash memory devices.