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Extrinsic resistance due to contacts and nonabrupt lateral extension doping profile can become a performance-limiter in ultrathin body double-gate FETs (DGFET). In this paper, two-dimensional device simulations are used to study and optimize the extrinsic resistance in a sub-20 nm gate length DGFET. For a given lateral doping gradient, the extension doping needs to be offset from the gate edge by an amount called the underlap. The current drive, and hence transistor performance, is maximized when the underlap is chosen in such a way as to balance the impact of nonabrupt doping on the short channel effects and series resistance. This optimization depends upon the maximum allowed off-state subthreshold leakage current and the electrostatic integrity of the device structure.