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Application and integration of quantum-effect devices for cellular VLSI


Levy, Harold (1995) Application and integration of quantum-effect devices for cellular VLSI. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/qtd4-5r46.


Cellular VLSI is that subclass of electronic systems for which small perturbations in a repeated cell design can dramatically influence the cost and performance of the entire system. This thesis presents examples of how the room-temperature quantum effects of tunneling and resonance may be used to condense the functionality of many conventional VLSI devices into a smaller and more efficient subunit, thus yielding tremendous benefits for the system as a whole. In particular, two and three-terminal applications of a complimentary pair of quantum-effect devices, the resonant-tunneling diode and the tunneling-switch diode, are presented.

The first example is an image-segmentation network for machine vision, implemented by using resonant-tunneling diodes in one and two-dimensional networks to extract boundaries between regions of constant spatial texture. In this case a single quantum-effect device may replace up to thirty-three CMOS transistors per pixel.

The second example is an artificial neural-network processor based on multistate resistors for synaptic conductances. These programmable resistors were produced by combining a vertically-integrated stack of resonant-tunneling diodes with a resistive load and a single MOSFET driven in its ohmic region. This macrostructure has the potential to provide synaptic changes on the picosecond time scale at length scales well below one micron.

The third example is a current-mode transistorless memory array based on a two-dimensional network of cells containing only a single tunneling-switch diode and a resistive load. The resulting system has the potential for reaching more than an order-of-magnitude more cell density than state-of-the-art DRAM arrays, while operating at state-of-the-art SRAM speeds and reasonable power consumption.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McGill, Thomas C.
Thesis Committee:
  • McGill, Thomas C. (chair)
  • Yariv, Amnon
  • Scherer, Axel
  • Mead, Carver
  • Psaltis, Demetri
Defense Date:12 December 1994
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10152007-133745
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4101
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:26 Oct 2007
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 22:54

Thesis Files

PDF (Levy_hj_1995.pdf) - Final Version
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