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New '3-D' Transistors Promising Future Chips, Lighter Laptops

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Peide Ye

Purdue Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Peide Ye

Credit: Purdue University

Researchers at Harvard and Purdue universities have developed a type of transistor made from indium-gallium-arsenide, a material that could replace silicon and have a three-dimensional (3D) structure.

The researchers say the technique could lead to faster, more compact, and more efficient integrated circuits and lighter laptops that generate less heat than existing models.

They say the chip was created using a top-down method, similar to industrial processes, to precisely etch and position components in transistors. "Here, we have made the world's first 3D gate-all-around transistor on much higher-mobility material than silicon," says Purdue professor Peide Ye.

Although nanowires made from silicon have reached 22 nm in size and could eventually reach 14 nm, nanowires made of III-V alloys could reach 10 nm in length, according to Ye. In addition, he says that a device made using a III-V material has the potential to conduct electrons five times faster than silicon. The researchers also applied a dielectric coating made of aluminum oxide using atomic layer deposition, which could represent a practical solution to the approaching limits of silicon transistors.

From Purdue University News
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