New Technology For Downscaling Transistors

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Purdue University engineer Tillmann Kubis has created CasFET, or cascade field effect transistor, technology. The key aspect is the superlattice perpendicular to the transistor’s transport direction, which allows for switchable cascade states. (Image provided by Tillmann Kubis)
 

Researchers, with their new technology, could help the semiconductor industry create smaller, more efficient and high-frequency transistors.

Device densities are getting higher and higher on chipsets due to ever decreasing size of the elements like transistors. But with miniaturization, it has become more and more difficult to meet the performance requirements of nanoscale transistors.

Transistors need enough threshold gate-source voltage to turn ON and pass the current between drain and source terminals. And it requires OFF-current, with a small enough difference to switch between both. Therefore, these challenges have solved the downscaling of transistors, making it difficult to introduce more powerful processing units. 

Tillmann Kubis, a Katherine Ngai Pesic & Silvaco Research Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Purdue’s Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and James Charles, a senior research associate in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have created CasFET, or cascade field effect transistor, technology. This technology introduces a new switching method to transistors, one that is like the effects observed in quantum cascade lasers.

“CasFET is a more general approach than the transistor technology we had developed several years ago. It offers more flexibility in the choice of materials and voltage settings,” Kubis said. “In technical terms, CasFET does not require band-to-band tunneling. Because of this, semiconductor designers could be able to develop faster-switching and more energy-efficient transistors.”

“Once that is showing the performance goals, we will continue with defining a concrete CasFET prototype design,” Kubis said.

Researchers believe that their innovation could lead to better and more powerful central processing unit generations, which can compute more operations with less energy.


 

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