A French team makes headway in making miniature electronics.
Engineers have been shrinking electronic components further and further at a steady rate for the past hundred years—a phenomenon known as Moore’s Law (says that the number of transistors that we can fit onto an integrated circuit doubles every two years)—and the results are all around us: personal computers, smartphones, remote-control car keys, and the myriad other technologies that did not exist a few short decades ago.
Engineers have been expecting the progress to hit a wall within the next 10 to 15 years, since transistors as we know them can only get so much smaller and more efficient—that is, until a recent breakthrough at France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) that strongly suggests that the progress will go on.
The research team built a “nanometric” transistor that features a new model for transistor component design, one that operates well at smaller-than-ever sizes and could therefore take the power of microprocessor, computer memory units, and microelectric devices to historic new levels. A 200-nanometers-long nanowire array (the length of 2,000 heliums atoms back to back) connects to two conductive surfaces, each surface linking to one end of one of one of the nanowires. Each wire has a chromium gate, measuring 14 nanometers in length, which completely encloses it and regulate the flow of electric current across it.
Prior to this study, microelectronics developers had built chips whose transistors featured gates measuring 28 meters. The 14-nanometer gate, which the CNRS team uniquely developed, thus represents a twofold leap in compactness. In addition, tests showed that this transistor gate matches its 28-nanometer standard counterparts in capacity for controlling the electric currents.
via Science Recorder
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