The investigators operated a silicon-germanium (SiGe) transistor at 798 gigahertz (GHz) fMAX, exceeding the previous speed record for silicon-germanium chips by about 200 GHz.
Although these operating speeds were achieved at extremely cold temperatures, the research suggests that record speeds at room temperature aren't far off, said professor John D. Cressler, who led the research for Georgia Tech. Information about the research was published in February of 2014, by IEEE Electron Device Letters.
"The transistor we tested was a conservative design, and the results indicate that there is significant potential to achieve similar speeds at room temperature – which would enable potentially world-changing progress in high-data-rate wireless and wired communications, as well as signal-processing, imaging, sensing and radar applications," said Cressler, who hold the Schlumberger Chair in electronics in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Moreover, I believe that these results also indicate that the goal of breaking the so-called ‘terahertz barrier’ – meaning, achieving terahertz speeds in a robust and manufacturable silicon-germanium transistor -- is within reach."
Meanwhile, Cressler added, the tested transistor itself could be practical as is for certain cold-temperature applications. In particular, it could be used in its present form for demanding electronics applications in outer space, where temperatures can be extremely low.
IHP, a research center funded by the German government, designed and fabricated the device, a heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) made from a nanoscale SiGe alloy embedded within a silicon transistor. Cressler and his Georgia Tech team, including graduate students Partha S. Chakraborty, Adilson Cordoso and Brian R. Wier, performed the exacting work of analyzing, testing and evaluating the novel transistor.
“The record low temperature results show the potential for further increasing the transistor speed toward THz at room temperature. This could help enable applications of Si-based technologies in areas in which compound semiconductor technologies are dominant today. At IHP, B. Heinemann, H. Rücker, and A. Fox supported by the whole technology team working to develop the next THz transistor generation,” according to Bernd Tillack, who is leading the technology department at IHP in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
Silicon, a material used in the manufacture of most modern microchips, is not competitive with other materials when it comes to the extremely high performance levels needed for certain types of emerging wireless and wired communications, signal processing, radar and other applications. Certain highly specialized and costly materials – such as indium phosphide, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride – presently dominate these highly demanding application areas.But silicon-germanium changes this situation. In SiGe technology, small amounts of germanium are introduced into silicon wafers at the atomic scale during the standard manufacturing process, boosting performance substantially.
The result is cutting-edge silicon-germanium devices such as the IHP Microelectronics 800 GHz transistor. Such designs combine SiGe's extremely high performance with silicon's traditional advantages -- low cost, high yield, smaller size and high levels of integration and manufacturability -- making silicon with added germanium highly competitive with the other materials.Cressler and his team demonstrated the 800 GHz transistor speed at 4.3 Kelvins (452 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit). This transistor has a breakdown voltage of 1.7 V, a value which is adequate for most intended applications.
The 800 GHz transistor was manufactured using IHP’s 130-nanometer BiCMOS process, which has a cost advantage compared with today’s highly-scaled CMOS technologies. This 130 nm SiGe BiCMOS process is offered by IHP in a multi-project wafer foundry service.
The Georgia Tech team used liquid helium to achieve the extremely low cryogenic temperatures of 4.3 Kelvins in achieving the observed 798 GHz speeds. "When we tested the IHP 800 GHz transistor at room temperature during our evaluation, it operated at 417 GHz," Cressler said. "At that speed, it's already faster than 98 percent of all the transistors available right now."Contacts:
Dr. Wolfgang Kissinger | idw
Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches
25.05.2018 | Universität Ulm
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences