Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, are working on improving the efficiency of electronics by the application of “Negative Capacitance” by using a class of materials called “ferroelectrics and antiferroelectric”. They published their findings in the March edition of the Journal Nature Communications. The early-stage research can lead to the development of energy-efficient electronics. “Our goal with this research was to find ways to reduce the power consumption of future electronics,” said Khan, assistant professor, Georgia Tech.
The consumer electronics market accounts for about 3.7% of all global greenhouse emissions and is expected to cross 10% by 2040. “But it has become more and more difficult to reduce the power consumption of electronic circuits further because they need a certain voltage level to operate,” explained Michael Hoffmann, the paper’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. “Reducing this operating voltage would make electronics much more energy efficient.”
But the energy consumption can be decreased by using a phenomenon called Negative Capacitance. “For negative capacitance, an increase of the voltage will reduce the amount of charge,” said Hoffmann. “For this reason, a negative capacitance could be used to amplify a voltage in electronic devices, thus enabling a reduction of their power consumption.”
The research is done by a team of 24 investigators from Europe, South America, and across the U.S. One of the most interesting findings is the antiferroelectric material they investigated: zirconia, a commonly used material in the semiconductor industry, used in the working memory of smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.
“It was only recently discovered that zirconia is antiferroelectric,” said Hoffmann. “So, our research could be translated into applications relatively quickly since zirconia is already used in most of the electronics that we use every day.”
The researchers are hopeful that there are lot more materials that exhibit negative capacitance than previously thought and their work will help in finding ways to reduce the power consumption of future electronics.
Read the entire paper here.