Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have broken their own record for the worlds fastest transistor. Their latest device, with a frequency of 509 gigahertz, is 57 gigahertz faster than their previous record holder and could find use in applications such as high-speed communications products, consumer electronics and electronic combat systems.
"The steady rise in the speed of bipolar transistors has relied largely on the vertical scaling of the epitaxial layer structure to reduce the carrier transit time," said Milton Feng, the Holonyak Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois, whose team has been working on high-speed compound semiconductor transistors since 1995. "However, this comes at the cost of increasing the base-collector capacitance. To compensate for this unwanted effect, we have employed lateral scaling of both the emitter and the collector."
Feng and graduate students Walid Hafez and Jie-Wei Lai fabricated the high-speed devices in the universitys Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. Unlike traditional transistors, which are built from silicon and germanium, the Illinois transistors are made from indium phosphide and indium gallium arsenide.
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