Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 193 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Nathaniel C Cady

Committee Members

Joseph E Van Nostrand, Richard Matyi, Alan C Diebold, Michael A Carpenter


Nonvolatile random-access memory, Hafnium oxide, Data encryption (Computer science)

Subject Categories

Electrical and Electronics | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a widely used encryption algorithm to protect data and communications in today's digital age. Modern AES CMOS implementations require large amounts of dedicated logic and must be tuned for either performance or power consumption. A high throughput, low power, and low die area AES implementation is required in the growing mobile sector. An emerging non-volatile memory device known as resistive memory (ReRAM) is a simple metal-insulator-metal capacitor device structure with the ability to switch between two stable resistance states. Currently, ReRAM is targeted as a non-volatile memory replacement technology to eventually replace flash. Its advantages over flash include ease of fabrication, speed, and lower power consumption. In addition to memory, ReRAM can also be used in advanced logic implementations given its purely resistive behavior. The combination of a new non-volatile memory element ReRAM along with high performance, low power CMOS opens new avenues for logic implementations. This dissertation will cover the design and process implementation of a ReRAM-CMOS hybrid circuit, built using IBM's 10LPe process, for the improvement of hardware AES implementations. Further the device characteristics of ReRAM, specifically the HfO2/Cu memory system, and mechanisms for operation are not fully correlated. Of particular interest to this work is the role of material properties such as the stoichiometry, crystallinity, and doping of the HfO2 layer and their effect on the switching characteristics of resistive memory. Material properties were varied by a combination of atomic layer deposition and reactive sputtering of the HfO2 layer. Several studies will be discussed on how the above mentioned material properties influence switching parameters, and change the underlying physics of device operation.