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Ultra-low power transistors that could function for years without a battery

A newly-developed form of transistor opens up a range of new electronic applications including wearable or implantable devices by drastically reducing the amount of power used. Devices based on this type of ultra-low power transistor, developed by engineers at University of Cambridge, could function for months or even years without a battery, by scavenging energy from its environment.

Using a principle similar to a computer in sleep mode, this new transistor harnesses a tiny leakage of electrical current, known as a near-off-state current, for its operations. This leak, like water dripping from a faulty tap, is a characteristic of all transistors. But this is the first time that it has been effectively captured and used functionally. The results open up new avenues for system design for the Internet of Things, in which most things we interact with every day are connected to the Internet.

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