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New Research May Extend Integrated Circuit Battery Life Tenfold

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RIT professor Sean Rommel

"This work . . . may enable future low power integrated circuits for your mobile device," says Rochester Institute of Technology professor Sean Rommel.


A tunneling field effect transistor is the key to a breakthrough in reducing power in integrated circuits. Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Sematech, and Texas State University used a process to build and test vertical Esaki tunnel diodes smaller than 120 nanometers in diameter.

The team measured hundreds of diodes per sample, and was able to experimentally observe currents much larger than previously reported tunneling currents. The researchers used the Esaki tunnel diodes to create a map showing output tunnel currents for a given set of material systems and parameters, and for the first time established a single reference for comparing results from the micro- to the mega-ampere range. The team reports that its methods can extend battery life up to 10 times longer for mobile applications compared to conventional transistors.

"The tunneling field effect transistors have not yet demonstrated a sufficiently large drive current to make it a practical replacement for current transistor technology, but this work conclusively established the largest tunneling current ever experimentally demonstrated, answering a key question about the viability of tunneling field effect transistor technology," says RIT professor Sean Rommel.

From Rochester Institute of Technology 
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