Tag Archives: Transistor

Can our computers continue to get smaller and more powerful?

R&D – Limits relating to time and space can be felt in practice.

The speed of light, while a very large number, limits how fast data can travel. Traveling through copper wires and silicon transistors, a signal can no longer traverse a chip in one clock cycle today.

A formula limiting parallel computation in terms of device size, communication speed and the number of available dimensions has been known for more than 20 years, but only recently has it become important now that transistors are faster than interconnections.

This is why alternatives to conventional wires are being developed, but in the meantime mathematical optimization can be used to reduce the length of wires by rearranging transistors and other components. more> http://tinyurl.com/qav9bsn


Eye-catching electronics

By Peter Rüegg – The aim is to weave these types of components into textiles or apply them to the skin in order to make objects “smart”, or develop unobtrusive, comfortable sensors that can monitor various functions of the body.

The membrane consists of the polymer parylene, which the researchers evaporate layer by layer into a conventional two-inch wafer. The parylene film has a maximum thickness of 0.001 mm, making it 50 times thinner than a human hair. In subsequent steps, they used standardised methods to build transistors and sensors from semiconductor materials, such as indium gallium zinc oxide, and conductors, such as gold. The researchers then released the parylene film with its attached electronic components from the wafer.

An electronic component fabricated in this way is extremely flexible, adaptable and—depending on the material used for the transistors—transparent. more> http://tinyurl.com/m76p5pz

Squeezing transistors really hard generates energy savings

R&D – Tom van Hemert and Ray Hueting of the Univ. of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology have shown that leakage current can be radically reduced by “squeezing” the transistor with a piezoelectric material (which expands or contracts when an electrical charge is applied to it).

In modern microchips, every single transistor is continuously exposed to enormous pressures of up to 10,000 atmospheres. This pressure is sealed in during the manufacturing process, by surrounding the transistors with compressive materials. While this boosts the chip’s processing speed, the leakage current also increases. The use of piezoelectric material means that the transistors are only put under pressure when this is necessary. This can generate considerable savings in terms of energy consumption. more> http://tinyurl.com/nrk5of2

IBM snaps an image of electric charge

By Martin LaMonica – IBM researchers have created a subatomic snapshot of the electric charge within a molecule, an advance that could have applications in ever-smaller transistors or in solar power.

Scientists from IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland, published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology today that describes a technique for measuring how electrons move when forming molecular bonds.

Having a picture of the electric charge distribution could be useful tool for research on making tiny transistors the size of a molecule or developing solar cells from inexpensive organic materials, said Fabian Mohn, who coauthored the paper. more> http://is.gd/QaOQhU