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: HEat is one issue...
6/25/2013 10:04:57 PM
The way they solve it is by moving (through quantum tunneling) only one electron from gold dot to gold dot, instead of pushing a current of electrons, like semiconductors do.
When you juice up the electrode on the source side, you're not pushing the electrode's current through the path of nanodots. You are determining how many hops a single electron will reach, so the very concept of leakage does not apply.
"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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
Quick Note: QNAP Announces $129 QGenie 7-in-1 NAS for Mobile Users
July 14, 2014, 9:32 AM
Apple Launches 21.5” iMac with 1.4GHz Core i5 Processor Priced at $1,099
June 18, 2014, 8:07 AM
Lowe's "Holoroom" Brings Holodeck, Home Improvement Dreams Closer to Reality
June 13, 2014, 9:06 AM
Intel to Broaden Market for Fanless Tablets, Ultrabooks with 14nm Intel Core M
June 3, 2014, 10:42 AM
ZOTAC Announces Four New Silent ZBOX Mini-PCs
June 2, 2014, 9:21 AM
ZOTAC Announces Funky ZBOX Sphere OI520 Series
May 22, 2014, 8:20 PM
Most Popular Articles
Lumia 830 Gets Major Upgrades Including New 20.1 Megapixel Toshiba Sensor
August 15, 2014, 6:00 PM
Windows Phone, BlackBerry Smartphone Market Share Falls to 2.5%, 0.5% Respectively
August 15, 2014, 9:44 AM
GM Concedes That the Cadillac ELR Doesn’t Really Compete with the Tesla Model S
August 15, 2014, 5:42 PM
Report: Windows 9 “Threshold” Tech Preview Coming Next Month
August 15, 2014, 11:29 AM
Apple Scores Patents, Preps New Reversible USB Plug for iPhone 6 Connector
August 18, 2014, 1:32 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information