Development towards the combination of miniaturization and improved functionality of RFIC has been stalled due to the lack of high-performance integrated inductors. To meet this challenge, integration of magnetic material with high permeability as well as low conductivity is a must. Ferrite films are excellent candidates for RF devices due to their low cost, high resistivity, and low eddy current losses. Unlike its bulk counterpart, nanocrystalline zinc ferrite, because of partial inversion in the spinel structure, exhibits novel magnetic properties suitable for RF applications. However, most scalable ferrite film deposition processes require either high temperature or expensive equipment or both. We report a novel low temperature (< 200°C) solution-based deposition process for obtaining high quality, polycrystalline zinc ferrite thin films (ZFTF) on Si (100) and on CMOS-foundry-fabricated spiral inductor structures, rapidly, using safe solvents and precursors. An enhancement of up to 20% at 5 GHz in the inductance of a fabricated device was achieved due to the deposited ZFTF. Substantial inductance enhancement requires sufficiently thick films and our reported process is capable of depositing smooth, uniform films as thick as ~ 20 μm just by altering the solution composition. The method is capable of depositing film conformally on a surface with complex geometry. As it requires neither a vacuum system nor any post-deposition processing, the method reported here has a low thermal budget, making it compatible with modern CMOS process flow.
- RF inductor
- Zinc ferrite
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering