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Researchers see new device as path to sub-10 nm circuits

Employing an ultrathin dielectric composed of a 4-nanometer-thick layer of lanthanum aluminate with an ultrathin, 0.5-nanometer layer of aluminum oxide, Purdue University's nanowire transistor of indium-gallium-arsenide (IGA) reaches an important milestone of a 20 nm gate size.

Currently Intel Corp. (INTC) uses a 22 nm process for its Ivy Bridge silicon-based transistors.

The new IGA transistor, like Intel's fin shaped 3D transistors, employs a three-dimensional gate design, but it takes it even a step farther, creating a bizarre stackable design of triple-tapering nanowires that looks like a tiny pine tree.  

Peide "Peter" Ye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, has an interesting name for his new device -- "the 4D transistor".  He comments, "A one-story house can hold so many people, but more floors, more people, and it's the same thing with transistors.  Stacking them results in more current and much faster operation for high-speed computing. This adds a whole new dimension, so I call them 4-D."

4D Transistor
A series of "4D" transistors [Image Source: Purdue]

He says the superior electron mobility of the new transistor allowed the novel design, and may allow even more ambitious successors.

The new work was published in a pair of papers [PDF] to be presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting on Dec. 8-12 in San Francisco.

Currently the silicon chipmaking industry is in an uncertain state.  14 nm chips are expected for 2015, while researchers hope to shrink to 10 nm by 2018.  But past 14 nm, leakage in current "high K" dielectrics will become to severe for the transistor to operate; hence to stay on course for 2018 researchers must race to discover new dielectrics.

Squeezing past 10 nm will be even trickier, as it's pushing the boundaries of the already strained optical lithography techniques.  Advanced techniques like self-assembly or mechanical manipulation of atoms may prove crucial at features sizes below 10 nm.

Sources: Purdue, Eurekalert

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By EricMartello on 12/7/2012 12:52:56 AM , Rating: 3
...that Jason called it a "christmas tree" shape and not a "holiday tree" shape. LOL

RE: Surprised...
By inperfectdarkness on 12/7/2012 2:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
PC fail. "holiday" is a euphamism for "holy day" which in itself is un-PC. The word you're looking for is "Seasonal Tree."


RE: Surprised...
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
uhm, how about pine tree.

RE: Surprised...
By Sivar on 12/8/2012 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
That would be showing favoritism towards Stanford.

RE: Surprised...
By xthetenth on 12/7/2012 11:34:39 AM , Rating: 2
Haha war on Christmas. Nobody cares about going after Christmas except fox news. Speaking as an atheist who feels rather strongly about evolution denial like Jason does, Christmas is pretty awesome. Get together with family, show your appreciation for each other and generally have a good time. Some people do celebrate other stuff, and recognizing that is good, but there is absolutely no reason to go after the holiday itself and especially one of the co-opted pagan symbols that are pretty non religious by this point.

RE: Surprised...
By Jeffk464 on 12/7/2012 12:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
Just about the whole holiday is a co-opted pagan celebration.

RE: Surprised...
By lagomorpha on 12/7/2012 4:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I think Saturnalia sounds like is was a lot more fun before it became christianized. Gag gifts, social positions reversed, chaos...

RE: Surprised...
By Concillian on 12/8/2012 2:36:46 PM , Rating: 2
At my daughter's kindergarten class, they have a "Unity tree"

Bleh. I'm not Christian, but go ahead tell me Merry Christmas. I won't be offended, and I will wish you one right back.

People (on both sides of the issue) need to lighten up about the whole thing.

RE: Surprised...
By lagomorpha on 12/8/2012 5:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
People (on both sides of the issue) need to lighten up about the whole thing.

Have you ever met a single person that actually cared about calling it Christmas or have you only met people who were overly concerned some other hypothetical person would be offended?

RE: Surprised...
By superstition on 12/9/2012 4:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
Some religious types are very concerned. My mother, for instance, would get upset if my sister or I wrote X Mas on anything.

RE: Surprised...
By Lord_Conrad on 12/10/2012 5:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
I care very much about keeping Christ in Christmas. Most people today who call themselves "Politically Correct" wouldn't dare say anything against Islam or Judaism, but have no problems trampling all over Christianity. I see this all the time in network TV.

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