Transistor Smaller

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Dallas have managed to build a transistor gate that is only 1 nanometer in length. Their new transistor gate offers a vast improvement over current models and could dramatically improve computer speeds. Their results arepublished in a paper in the journalScience.

Transistors are the building blocks of every computer. Scientists and engineers keep finding ways to make them smaller, so they can fit more of them on a single chip. The more transistors they can fit on a chip, the faster the computer can run, practically.

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There’s only one problem: We’ve pretty much reached the limit of how small transistors can get. Currently transistors are around 10-20 nanometers in scale, and are expected to shrink to around 5-7 nanometers in the next few years, but that’s seemed to be about far as we can go. At that point, transistors are so small that quantum effects prevent them from working properly.

To get around this problem, a group of researchers developed a new type of transistor using different materials: molybdenum disulfide and carbon nanotubes instead of silicon. These new materials don’t have the same 5 nanometer minimum size that traditional silicon transistors do.

Although this new technology is still in the early phases, it could provide a way for companies to circumvent the miniaturization stall predicted to happen in 2021. In the meantime, the researchers are planning to perform follow-up work to make the new transistors more efficient and easier to produce.

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