These are your dad's <strike>transistors</strike> vacuum tubes.

These are your dad's transistors vacuum tubes.

Last week, while all of us normal folk were preparing to indulge in obscene amounts of Thanksgiving feast, “ultra-thin” was probably the last word on our minds. But that was not the case for researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who were paving the way for the future of electronics by “(integrating) ultra-thin layers of the semiconductor indium arsenide onto a silicon substrate to create a nanoscale transistor.” Said transistor — a product of a process at once baffling and incomprehensible to laymen — exhibits “excellent electronic properties,” offering levels of performance much higher than those of existing silicon-based technologies.

The LBL research team, lead by faculty scientist Ali Javey, were searching for alternative semiconductors to overcome the limitations of silicon. Indium aresenide proved to be an ideal candidate, and the devices the team produced (based on molecular-scale semiconductor integrations only 10 nanometers in thickness) offered “superior electron mobility and velocity” for improved speed and decreased power consumption in electronic devices. Their findings were published in the scientific journal Nature, in a paper entitled: “Ultrathin compound semiconductor on insulator layers for high-performance nanoscale transistors.” Sweet.

But how does it really work, really? We’ll get back to you on that one after we pick up a few more doctorates.

Image Source: verifex under Creative Commons
Ultrathin Alternative to Silicon for Future Electronics [Berkeley Lab News Center]



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