Nanowire FET based neural element for robotic tactile sensing skin

Taube Navaraj, W., García Núñez, C. , Shakthivel, D., Vinciguerra, V., Labeau, F., Gregory, D. H. and Dahiya, R. (2017) Nanowire FET based neural element for robotic tactile sensing skin. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11, 501. (doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00501) (PMID:28979183) (PMCID:PMC5611376)

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This paper presents novel Neural Nanowire Field Effect Transistors (υ-NWFETs) based hardware-implementable neural network (HNN) approach for tactile data processing in electronic skin (e-skin). The viability of Si nanowires (NWs) as the active material for υ-NWFETs in HNN is explored through modeling and demonstrated by fabricating the first device. Using υ-NWFETs to realize HNNs is an interesting approach as by printing NWs on large area flexible substrates it will be possible to develop a bendable tactile skin with distributed neural elements (for local data processing, as in biological skin) in the backplane. The modeling and simulation of υ-NWFET based devices show that the overlapping areas between individual gates and the floating gate determines the initial synaptic weights of the neural network - thus validating the working of υ-NWFETs as the building block for HNN. The simulation has been further extended to υ-NWFET based circuits and neuronal computation system and this has been validated by interfacing it with a transparent tactile skin prototype (comprising of 6 × 6 ITO based capacitive tactile sensors array) integrated on the palm of a 3D printed robotic hand. In this regard, a tactile data coding system is presented to detect touch gesture and the direction of touch. Following these simulation studies, a four-gated υ-NWFET is fabricated with Pt/Ti metal stack for gates, source and drain, Ni floating gate, and Al2O3 high-k dielectric layer. The current-voltage characteristics of fabricated υ-NWFET devices confirm the dependence of turn-off voltages on the (synaptic) weight of each gate. The presented υ-NWFET approach is promising for a neuro-robotic tactile sensory system with distributed computing as well as numerous futuristic applications such as prosthetics, and electroceuticals.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dahiya, Professor Ravinder and Garcia Nunez, Dr Carlos and Shakthivel, Dr Dhayalan and Gregory, Professor Duncan and Navaraj, Mr William
Authors: Taube Navaraj, W., García Núñez, C., Shakthivel, D., Vinciguerra, V., Labeau, F., Gregory, D. H., and Dahiya, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:Frontiers in Neuroscience
ISSN (Online):1662-453X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Taube Navaraj, García Núñez, Shakthivel, Vinciguerra, Labeau, Gregory and Dahiya
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Neuroscience 11: 501
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
663861Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Printed Tactile SKINRavinder DahiyaEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M002527/1ENG - ENGINEERING ELECTRONICS & NANO ENG