New "Leakage-Free" Nanotube, Quantum Dot Transistor Uses No Semiconductors
June 25, 2013 3:30 PM
comment(s) - last by
Device operates at room temperature; feature with is currently 20 nm, could be shrunk smaller
Michigan Technological University
(Michigan Tech/MTU) physics professor
Yoke Khin Yap
is concerned that the
current route of semiconductor development
extending Moore's Law
[press release], "At the rate the current technology is progressing, in 10 or 20 years, they won’t be able to get any smaller. Also, semiconductors have another disadvantage: they waste a lot of energy in the form of heat."
He believed the solution to this challenge lay in
new, novel materials
He began testing designs using
tiny globs of metal called "quantum dots" (QDs)
sprinkled on a nanoinsulator. For the insulator substrate he chose boron nitride
, known as BNNTs. For the quantum dots he used gold, an ideal material for making regular, precisely-sized QDs.
The team needed a way to position the dots in atomic space on the nanotube, so they turned to using a laser. Using this method, they were able to positions gold QDs that were a mere 3 nanometers in diameter -- or roughly 1/7th the size of transistors produced at current circuit manufacturing nodes.
An artist's rendering of the nanotube transistor [Image Source: MTU]
Testing the design in collaboration with
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
(ORNL), they hooked an electrode up to each end of the construct and tested it at room temperature. They observed quantum tunneling -- the hallmark phenomena necessary to construct a non-semiconductor transistor. Electrons "jump" (or tunnel) from one gold QD to the next, as current is applied.
The researchers were able to control the voltage to switch this conduction on and off, forming a transistor. Professor Yap describes, "Imagine that the nanotubes are a river, with an electrode on each bank. Now imagine some very tiny stepping stones across the river. The electrons hopped between the gold stepping stones. The stones are so small, you can only get one electron on the stone at a time. Every electron is passing the same way, so the device is always stable."
Past transistors made from materials other than semiconductor typically had to be cooled with liquid helium to operate well; by contrast Professor Yap's design performs well at room temperature.
Currently each nanotube is 1 micron long and 20 nm wide -- making these transistors on par with current designs. But the researchers expect these transistors to scale better than semiconductor sizes as tube diameter and lengths are shrunk. The team already has
to deposit aligned substrate "carpets" so now all that remains is developing methods to mass-position the nanodots (as individual laser positioning is prohibitively slow for making the billions of transistors in a modern IC).
Electron micrographs of nanotube "carpets" grown by Prof. Yap's team back in 2011.
[Image Source: MTU]
Professor Yap, who has filed for a patent on the design and manufacturing process, comments, "Theoretically, these tunneling channels can be miniaturized into virtually zero dimension when the distance between electrodes is reduced to a small fraction of a micron."
The best feature of the transistors is that there's no electrons (according to the authors) lost between gold nanodot and no gold nanodot -- a heat generating phenomena known as "leakage". By contrast,
leakage is a massive problem
for nanoscale silicon-based transistors, limiting clock speeds and circuit density.
In addition to the patent his work was
[abstract] in a peer-reviewed journal article in the
journal from publisher Wiley.
Advanced Materials [abstract]
MTU [press release]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: You sure about that?
6/25/2013 4:07:40 PM
It was poorly worded, but I think the implication was that tunneling is necessary for non-semiconductor transistors.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
Report: Intel Delays 14 nm Broadwell, Schedules Haswell Refresh for 2014
June 17, 2013, 5:30 PM
IBM Cooks up Process to Precisely Plant Aligned Carbon Nanotubes on Chips
October 29, 2012, 1:59 PM
Scientists Cook Up 1-Atom Transistor, 12-Atom Magnetic Storage
February 20, 2012, 7:20 PM
Q-BICs -- Doped Quantum Dots -- Harvest Wasted Infrared Solar Spectrum
January 25, 2012, 11:04 AM
Intel’s 3D Transistors Boost Performance, Lower Power Consumption for “Ivy Bridge”
May 4, 2011, 1:13 PM
Samsung Adds 2 TB 850 EVO, PRO SSDs for $800, $1000
July 7, 2015, 4:23 PM
Seagate Senior Researcher: Heat Can Kill Data on Stored SSDs
May 13, 2015, 2:49 PM
How to Recover Most Apps After Your NVIDIA Driver Crashes in Windows 10
March 30, 2015, 12:54 PM
Tinkerer Gets Old School Mac Plus Running on the Modern Web
March 24, 2015, 6:41 PM
Facebook-Backed Oculus Rift's Release Date Slips to 2016; Valve and HTC Salivate
March 16, 2015, 5:58 PM
Hackers Steal Roughly $1 Billion From Banks Using Malware RAT
February 17, 2015, 9:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
As iPad Sales Wane and Watch Flops, iPhone Saves Apple's Profit With Its Heroics
July 22, 2015, 6:13 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Microsoft July 29 Windows 10 Launch: Freebies, Rollout, and What's Next
July 21, 2015, 2:40 PM
Mozilla and Facebook to Adobe: It's Time to Kill Flash
July 20, 2015, 6:30 PM
Google Scores Bizarre Court Win as Disgruntled Android Users' Lawyers Ruin Case
July 16, 2015, 5:58 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information