Berkeley Lab-led research breaks major barrier in transistor size by creating gate only 1 nanometer long
For more than a decade, engineers have been eyeing the finish line in the race to shrink the size of components in integrated circuits. They knew that the laws of physics had set a 5-nanometer threshold on the size of transistor gates among conventional semiconductors, about one-quarter the size of high-end 20-nanometer-gate transistors now on the market.
Some laws are made to be broken, or at least challenged.
A research team led by faculty scientist Ali Javey at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has done just that by creating a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate. For comparison, a strand of human hair is about 50,000 nanometers thick.
“We made the smallest transistor reported to date,” said Javey, lead principal investigator of the Electronic Materials program in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Science Division. “The gate length is considered a defining dimension of the transistor. We demonstrated a 1-nanometer-gate transistor, showing that with the choice of proper materials, there is a lot more room to shrink our electronics.”
The key was to use carbon nanotubes and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), an engine lubricant commonly sold in auto parts shops. MoS2 is part of a family of materials with immense potential for applications in LEDs, lasers, nanoscale transistors, solar cells, and more.
The findings were published today in the journal Science. Other investigators on this paper include Jeff Bokor, a faculty senior scientist at Berkeley Lab and a professor at UC Berkeley; Chenming Hu, a professor at UC Berkeley; Moon Kim, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas; and H.S. Philip Wong, a professor at Stanford University.
The development could be key to keeping alive Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s prediction that the density of transistors on integrated circuits would double every two years, enabling the increased performance of our laptops, mobile phones, televisions, and other electronics.
“The semiconductor industry has long assumed that any gate below 5 nanometers wouldn’t work, so anything below that was not even considered,” said study lead author Sujay Desai, a graduate student in Javey’s lab. “This research shows that sub-5-nanometer gates should not be discounted. Industry has been squeezing every last bit of capability out of silicon. By changing the material from silicon to MoS2, we can make a transistor with a gate that is just 1 nanometer in length, and operate it like a switch.”
When ‘electrons are out of control’
Transistors consist of three terminals: a source, a drain, and a gate. Current flows from the source to the drain, and that flow is controlled by the gate, which switches on and off in response to the voltage applied.
Both silicon and MoS2have a crystalline lattice structure, but electrons flowing through silicon are lighter and encounter less resistance compared with MoS2. That is a boon when the gate is 5 nanometers or longer. But below that length, a quantum mechanical phenomenon called tunneling kicks in, and the gate barrier is no longer able to keep the electrons from barging through from the source to the drain terminals.
“This means we can’t turn off the transistors,” said Desai. “The electrons are out of control.”
Because electrons flowing through MoS2 are heavier, their flow can be controlled with smaller gate lengths. MoS2 can also be scaled down to atomically thin sheets, about 0.65 nanometers thick, with a lower dielectric constant, a measure reflecting the ability of a material to store energy in an electric field. Both of these properties, in addition to the mass of the electron, help improve the control of the flow of current inside the transistor when the gate length is reduced to 1 nanometer.
Once they settled on MoS2 as the semiconductor material, it was time to construct the gate. Making a 1-nanometer structure, it turns out, is no small feat. Conventional lithography techniques don’t work well at that scale, so the researchers turned to carbon nanotubes, hollow cylindrical tubes with diameters as small as 1 nanometer.
They then measured the electrical properties of the devices to show that the MoS2 transistor with the carbon-nanotube gate effectively controlled the flow of electrons.
“This work demonstrated the shortest transistor ever,” said Javey, who is also a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. “However, it’s a proof of concept. We have not yet packed these transistors onto a chip, and we haven’t done this billions of times over. We also have not developed self-aligned fabrication schemes for reducing parasitic resistances in the device. But this work is important to show that we are no longer limited to a 5-nanometer gate for our transistors. Moore’s Law can continue a while longer by proper engineering of the semiconductor material and device architecture.”
Learn more: Smallest. Transistor. Ever.
The Latest on: Transistor
via Google News
The Latest on: Transistor
- Next Generation Transistor Market Research Report 2019-2025on November 14, 2019 at 2:11 am
Nov 14, 2019 (Market Insight Reports via COMTEX) -- The Global Next Generation Transistor Market is comprehensively analyzed in the report with the main objective of providing accurate market data and ...
- High Frequency Bipolar Junction Transistor Market Global Trend 2019, Worldwide Research News and Emerging Growth Opportunity 2025on November 14, 2019 at 1:12 am
Nov 14, 2019 (Market Insight Reports via COMTEX) -- High Frequency Bipolar Junction Transistor Market recently Published Market Insights Reports with more than 100 industry informative desk and ...
- Versal Adaptable is a monolithic chipon November 13, 2019 at 8:14 am
Victor Peng, the CEO of Xilinx, has just announced that the 35 billion transistor Versal is a monolithic chip. Without saying the exact number, he did mention that at 7nm, the Versal 7nm 35 billion ...
- Synopsys and TSMC Collaborate to Develop Portfolio of DesignWare IP for TSMC 5nm FinFET Plus (N5P) Processon November 11, 2019 at 4:05 pm
and one-time programmable non-volatile memory STAR Memory System™ with new algorithms targeting 5nm FinFET-based transistor defects allow efficient test, repair, and diagnostics of embedded memories ...
- Saki Corporation Introduces Automated X-ray Inspection for IGBT Power Modules at Productronica Stand A2.259on November 10, 2019 at 10:03 pm
Saki Corporation, an innovator in the field of automated optical and X-ray inspection and measurement equipment, announces the introduction of its 3D-CT automated X-ray inspection (AXI) system ...
- EXCLUSIVE: Sasha Bell (Essex green / Ladybug Transistor) ‘Castle Keep’ Video Premiereon November 8, 2019 at 10:20 am
Sasha Bell has been involved with a handful of projects that have released some of the finest 60s-inspired pop records of the last two decades. Whether with the Ladybug Transistor, The Essex Green, or ...
- Power Transistor Market by New Market Opportunities, Production Cost Analysis, Market Development and Market Dynamics Forceson November 8, 2019 at 8:21 am
Seattle, WA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/08/2019 -- The New Power Transistor Market 2019: Global Industry Analysis, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecasts to 2019 – 2026" report offers an in-depth Study of all ...
- AJH Synths MiniMod Transistor VCOon November 7, 2019 at 6:54 pm
I will ship with tracking to the listed regions. To negotiate shipping rates to other locations, please send me a message. Taxes are charged in the following regions either by the seller, per their ...
- Mycotoxin detection by graphene field-effect transistoron November 7, 2019 at 10:07 am
An international team of researchers from Biosense Institute (Serbia), National Research University of Electronic Technology (Russia), and The University of Texas at Austin (U.S.) has developed a ...
via Bing News