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Christopher Hinkle

Assistant Professor


2005 PhD Physics, North Carolina State University
BS Physics, North Carolina State University

Research Summary

Our research group is studying the growth and characterization of unique semiconductor materials for use in a wide variety of electronic devices.  Using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and other techniques, material structures with atomic level control are fabricated and analyzed.  The development of these structures is currently focused on a fundamental understanding of energy applications and nanoelectronics such as solar cells (III-V multijunction photovoltaics, quantum dot intermediate band solar cells), advanced CMOS devices, low-power transistors (InGaAs, InSb quantum wells), and materials for next-generation Li-ion batteries.

  • Photovoltaics: We are studying the nucleation and growth of very low defect multi-junction solar cells. These junctions are grown using MBE to fabricate III-V (GaAs, InGaP, etc) semiconductor materials with various lattice structures and energy band gaps in an effort to improve the efficiency of these types of solar cells. Using growth techniques, such as metamorphic buffer layers, our goal is to improve the efficiency of PV to a level that would allow widespread terrestrial use.  We also study other unique solar cell structures (and LEDs) using quantum dots which allow for the absorption of photons from a broader energy range.

  • Li-ion Batteries: We are investigating numerous aspects of Li-ion batteries for enhanced energy storage.  This includes solid electrolytes (LLTO), next-generation anode materials (Si nanotubes), and the associated solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI).  Using chemical synthesis methods and epitaxial growth techniques, novel structures are formed that allow us to control the Li+ reaction pathways in these materials.  The insight gained of the chemical bonding and transport in these materials and interfaces are directly applied to full-cell batteries fabricated in our lab for correlation to charge storage capabilities.

  • III-V Nanoelectronics: Using our growth capabilities, we are developing and investigating a wide range of III-V (as well as Ge and Si) semiconductor materials and heterostructures for use in low-power CMOS technologies.  Collaborating with many of the other research groups in MSEN and building on the department’s reputation in this field, we are developing a detailed understanding of these III-V systems to enable electronics to maintain high-performance yet consume less energy.

    We have established collaborations with other researchers in Materials Science, Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Chemistry.  We work closely with researchers at other universities (for example NC State, Purdue, Dublin City University, and University College Cork), and we maintain ongoing projects and collaborations with U.S. Industries (Texas Instruments, SRC, SEMATECH).  Our goal is to develop a fundamental understanding of the issues associated with energy harvesting, reduction, and storage to significantly advance the scientific community, while greatly contributing to technological advances and environmental responsibility.

Selected Publications

  • Dipole controlled metal gate with hybrid low resistivity cladding for gate-last CMOS with low Vt,  C. L. Hinkle, R. V. Galatage, R. A. Chapman, E. M. Vogel, H. N. Alshareef, C. Freeman, E. Wimmer, H. Niimi, A. Li-Fatou, J. B. Shaw, and J. J. Chambers, 2010 Symposium on VLSI Technology, Digest of Technical Papers (2010).
  • Detection of Ga suboxides and their impact on III-V passivation and Fermi-level pinning, C. L. Hinkle, M. Milojevic, B. Brennan, A. M. Sonnet, F. S. Aguirre-Tostado, G. J. Hughes, E. M. Vogel, and R. M. Wallace, Applied Physics Letters 94, 162101 (2009).
  • Surface passivation and implications on high mobility channel performance, C. L. Hinkle, M. Milojevic, E. M. Vogel, and R. M. Wallace, Microelectronic Engineering 86, 1544 (2009).
  • Extraction of the Effective Mobility of In0.53Ga0.47As MOSFETs, C. L. Hinkle, A. M. Sonnet, R. A. Chapman, and E. M. Vogel, IEEE Electron Device Letters 30, 316 (2009).
  • GaAs interfacial self-cleaning by atomic layer deposition, C. L. Hinkle, A. M. Sonnet, E. M. Vogel, S. McDonnell, G. J. Hughes, M. Milojevic, B. Lee, F. S. Aguirre-Tostado, K. J. Choi, H. C. Kim, J. Kim, and R. M. Wallace,  Applied Physics Letters 92, 071901 (2008).