Researchers create world’s tiniest transistor

April 19th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 19 (IANS) Researchers have used the world’s thinnest material to create the world’s tiniest transistor, one atom thick and 10 atoms wide. They have shown that graphene can be carved into tiny electronic circuits with individual transistors not much larger than a molecule - a boon for micro-miniaturisation.

Graphene transistors start showing advantages and good performance at sizes below 10 nanometres - the miniaturization limit below which silicon technology is predicted to fail.

At this spatial scale, all semiconductors - including silicon - oxidise, decompose and uncontrollably migrate along surfaces like water droplets on a hot plate, reports Sciencedaily.

Unlike other materials, graphene remains highly stable and conducive even when it is cut into devices a nanometre wide. One nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre. A single human hair is around 100,000 nanometres in width.

In recent decades, manufacturers have crammed more and more components onto integrated circuits, consequently doubling their power every two years. This has become known as Moore’s Law.

But the speed of cramming is now decreasing and further miniaturisation is to experience its most fundamental challenge in the coming years.

Four years ago, Andre Geim of the University of Manchester and colleagues discovered graphene, the first known one-atom-thick material that can be viewed as a plane of atoms pulled out from graphite.

“Now one can think of designer molecules acting as transistors connected into designer computer architecture on the basis of the same material (graphene), and use the same fabrication approach that is currently used by semiconductor industry,” said Kostya Novoselov, Geim’s associate.

These findings have been reported in April issue of Science.

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