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Low-Power Tunneling Transistor For High-Performance Devices at Low Voltage

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A transmission electron microscope cross-section of the vertical TFET.

The near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor (TFET) could enable fast, low-power computing devices like smart sensor networks and implantable medical electronics.

Credit: Suman Datta/Penn State

Pennsylvania State University researchers have developed a type of transistor, called a near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor (TFET), which they say could make possible fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks, implantable medical electronics, and ultra-mobile computing.

TFET uses the quantum mechanical tunneling of electrons through an ultrathin energy barrier to provide high current at low voltage. "This transistor has previously been developed in our lab to replace MOSFET transistors for logic applications and to address power issues," says Penn State researcher Bijesh Rajamohanan. "In this work, we went a step beyond and showed the capability of operating at high frequency, which is handy for applications where power concerns are critical, such as processing and transmitting information from devices implanted inside the human body."

The researchers tuned the material composition of the indium gallium arsenide/gallium arsenide antimony so the energy barrier was close to zero, which enabled the electrons to tunnel through the barrier when desired.

From Penn State News
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