The work will be presented at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting Dec. 11-13 by Dae-Hyun Kim. Kim is a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Jesus del Alamo, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and member of MIT's Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL).
"Unless we do something very radical pretty soon, the microelectronics revolution that has enriched our lives in so many different ways might come to a screeching halt," said del Alamo.
The problem? Engineers estimate that within the next 10 to 15 years we will reach the limit, in terms of size and performance, of the silicon transistors key to the industry. "Each of us has several billion transistors working on our behalf every day in our phone, laptop, iPod, car, kitchen and more," del Alamo noted.
As a result, del Alamo's lab and others around the world are working on new materials and technologies that may be able to reach beyond the limits of silicon. "We are looking at new semiconductor materials for transistors that will continue to improve in performance, while devices get smaller and smaller," del Alamo said.
One such material del Alamo and his students at the MTL are investigating is a family of semiconductors known as III-V compound semiconductors. Unlike silicon, these are composite materials. A particularly hot prospect is indium gallium arsenide, or InGaAs, a material in which electrons travel many times faster than in silicon. As a result, it should be possible to make very small transistors that can switch and process information very quickly.
Del Alamo's group recently demonstrated this by fabricating InGaAs transistors that can carry 2.5 times more current than state-of-the-art silicon devices. More current is the key to faster operation. In addition, each InGaAs transistor is only 60 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, long. That's similar to the most advanced 65-nanometer silicon technology available in the world today.
"The 60-nanometer InGaAs quantum-well transistor demonstrated by Professor del Alamo's group shows some exciting results at low supply voltage (e.g. 0.5V) and is a very important research milestone," said Robert Chau, senior fellow and director of transistor research and nanotechnology at Intel, a sponsor of the work.
Del Alamo notes, however, that InGaAs transistor technology is still in its infancy. Some of the challenges include manufacturing transistors in large quantities, because InGaAs is more prone to breakage than silicon. But del Alamo expects prototype InGaAs microdevices at the required dimensions to be developed over the next two years and the technology to take off in a decade or so.
"With more work, this semiconductor technology could greatly surpass silicon and allow us to continue the microelectronics revolution for years to come," del Alamo said.
In addition to Intel, this research is sponsored by the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation. The MIT transistors were fabricated by pulling together the capabilities of three MIT laboratories: the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, the Scanning-Electron-Beam Lithography Facility and the Nanostructures Laboratory. Del Alamo notes that one reason for the exceptional performance of these transistors is the high quality of the semiconductor material, which was prepared by MBE Technology of Singapore.
Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer IFAM
IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world
05.12.2016 | IHP - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences