High-temperature (>500°C) reconfigurable computing using silicon carbide NEMS switches


Many industrial systems, sensors and advanced propulsion systems demand electronics capable of functioning at high ambient temperature in the range of 500–600°C. Conventional Si-based electronics fail to work reliably at such high temperature ranges. In this paper we propose, for the first time, a high-temperature reconfigurable computing platform capable of operating at temperature of 500°C or higher. Such a platform is also amenable for reliable operation in high-radiation environment. The hardware reconfigurable platform follows the interleaved architecture of conventional Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and provides the usual benefits of lower design cost and time. However, high-temperature operation is enabled by choice of a special device material, namely silicon carbide (SiC), and a special switch structure, namely Nano-Electro-Mechanical-System (NEMS) switch. While SiC provides excellent mechanical and chemical properties suitable for operation at extreme harsh environment, NEMS switch provides low-voltage operation, ultra-low leakage and radiation hardness. We propose a novel multi-layer NEMS switch structure and efficient design of each building block of FPGA using nanoscale SiC NEMS switches. Using measured switch parameters from a number of SiC NEMS switches we fabricated, we compare the power, performance and area of an all-mechanical FPGA with alternative implementations for several benchmark circuits.

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@article{Wang2011HightemperatureR, title={High-temperature (>500°C) reconfigurable computing using silicon carbide NEMS switches}, author={Xinmu Wang and Seetharam Narasimhan and Aswin Raghav Krishna and Francis G. Wolff and Srihari Rajgopal and Te-Hao Lee and Mehran Mehregany and Swamp Bhunia}, journal={2011 Design, Automation & Test in Europe}, year={2011}, pages={1-6} }