Low Temperature Physics: 42, 361 (2016); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4948618
Fizika Nizkikh Temperatur: Volume 42, Number 5 (May 2016), p. 463-485    ( to contents , go back )

Superconductor digital electronics: scalability and energy efficiency issues (Review Article)

Sergey K. Tolpygo

Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, MA 02420, USA
E-mail: sergey.tolpygo@ll.mit.edu
pos Анотація:

Received February 10, 2016


Superconductor digital electronics using Josephson junctions as ultrafast switches and magnetic-flux encoding of information was proposed over 30 years ago as a sub-terahertz clock frequency alternative to semiconductor electronics based on complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) transistors. Recently, interest in developing superconductor electronics has been renewed due to a search for energy saving solutions in applications related to high-performance computing. The current state of superconductor electronics and fabrication processes are reviewed in order to evaluate whether this electronics is scalable to a very large scale integration (VLSI) required to achieve computation complexities comparable to CMOS processors. A fully planarized pro-cess at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, perhaps the most advanced process developed so far for superconductor electronics, is used as an example. The process has nine superconducting layers: eight Nb wiring layers with the minimum feature size of 350 nm, and a thin superconducting layer for making compact high-kinetic-inductance bias inductors. All circuit layers are fully planarized using chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) of SiO2 interlayer dielectric. The physical limitations imposed on the circuit density by Josephson junctions, circuit inductors, shunt and bias resistors, etc., are discussed. Energy dissipation in superconducting circuits is also reviewed in order to estimate whether this technology, which requires cryogenic refrigeration, can be energy efficient. Fabrication process development required for increasing the density of superconductor digital circuits by a factor of ten and achieving densities above 107 Josephson junctions per cm2 is described.

PACS: 85.25.–j Superconducting devices;
PACS: 85.25.Am Superconducting device characterization, design, and modeling;
PACS: 85.25.Cp Josephson devices;
PACS: 85.25.Hv Superconducting logic elements and memory devices; microelectronic circuits.

Key words: AQFP, ERSFQ, integrated circuit fabrication, Josephson junctions, kinetic inductors, Nb/AlOx/Nb junctions, RQL, RSFQ, superconductor electronics, superconducting integrated circuit.

Published online: March 23, 2016

Download 1953902 byte View Contents