Future transistors will leverage techniques learned from quantum physics

Future transistors will leverage techniques learned from quantum physics

Purdue University researchers have achieved a major breakthrough in the design of next-generation transistors, which could allow for an extension of the life of silicon-based semiconductors. The new design, titled CasFET (Cascade Field Effect Transistor) is a further step on the road to miniaturization, as it allows for lower switching voltages and lower power consumption. Tillman Kubis, Research Assistant Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, said this research seeks to address the major challenges in transistor miniaturization.

credit: unsplash.com “They [transistors] need a sufficiently high ON current and a low enough OFF current, with a small difference to switch between them "- said Kubis -" These challenges have significantly slowed down the downscaling of transistors over the last eight years, making it increasingly difficult to introduction of more powerful CPU generations “. One of the most well-known instances of this problem was Intel's transition to 10nm and 7nm processes, which led to a series of delays that helped the "rebirth" of its direct competitor AMD in the CPU market.

Samsung is employing Gate All Around Field Effect Transistor (GAAFET) technology for the 3nm process, with mass production scheduled for this year. The technology, which follows FinFet, redraws the transistors to feature four gates on all four sides of a channel. This provides better isolation from neighboring transistors, limits voltage losses, and allows lower voltages to be applied for the same switching effect. This in turn allows for a greater number of transistors to be distributed closer together, increasing the density. Samsung says this approach allows for a 35% size reduction (compared to 5nm FinFET). The development of CasFET represents a possible next step in transistor manufacturing, offering superlattice structures that are perpendicular to the transistor's transport direction, allowing for switchable cascading states. This actually employs learned effects from quantum cascade lasers and essentially allows for more precise voltage control.

Credit: Purdue University The team is currently developing the first CasFET prototype and is still in the design stage for the facility. and overall materials, trying to find the right balance between cost, material availability, ease of transition from typical transistor manufacturing and performance. For now, the prototype does not offer the performance profile they are looking for. However, the work is promising enough, so much so that Purdue has filed for patent protection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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