Feeds

Quantum transistors at room temp

Save Moore's law by getting rid of semiconductors

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The world might still be 20 years from the end of Moore's Law, but the hunt for technologies to replace semiconductors is going on right now. A group from Michigan Technological University is offering one such alternative: a quantum tunnelling transistor that operates at room temperature.

The culmination of work begun in 2007, their demonstration has been published in Advanced Materials, here (abstract).

Moore's famous observation (the number of transistors on an IC doubles roughly every two years) is one day going to run into two physical constraints: the feature size of the transistor, and its ability to dissipate heat.

Quantum properties are seen as a promising replacement for semiconductors on both scores: transistors can be built at the single-atom scale, and they don't have the same heat dissipation issues. However, most quantum effect transistors need to function at cryogenic temperatures.

That makes room temperature operation an important goal for development – and that's what the MTU group, led by MTU physicist Yoke Khin Yap, is claiming.

Their quantum transistor is fabricating by placing gold quantum dots on boron nitride nanotubes. The three-nanometre gold dots were placed using lasers, while the nanotubes both provide insulation between the dots, and confine the dots.

Working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the MTU group then applied a voltage electrodes at both ends at room temperature, and observed electrons tunnelling from dot-to-dot.

However, that tunnelling only happened with enough voltage: below the critical voltage, electrons don't get enough energy to make the jump between dots – making the device a quantum transistor that doesn't need semiconducting material.

As fellow physicist John Jaszczak, who developed the theoretical framework for Yap's work, explains in the university's announcement, the device has to be about one micron long and 20 nanometres wide to operate.

“The gold islands have to be on the order of nanometers across to control the electrons at room temperature,” Jaszczak said. “If they are too big, too many electrons can flow. Working with nanotubes and quantum dots gets you to the scale you want for electronic devices.” ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.