Student develops promising new alternative to silicon chipMay 14th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by admin
Washington, May 14 (IANS) A new generation of transistors will soon replace one of the world’s most ubiquitous technologies - the silicon chip. And these transistors will not only slash energy consumption but also operate under extreme conditions.
The transistor, designed by doctoral student Weixiao Huang, uses a compound material known as gallium nitride (GaN). It would help electronics systems to operate in extremely hot, harsh, and high-power environments - even those that produce radiation.
These new GaN transistors are so resilient that they could open up the field of electronic engineering in ways that were not previously possible due to the limitations imposed by less tolerant silicon transistors.
“Silicon has been the workhorse in the semiconductor industry for last two decades,” Huang said.
“But as power electronics get more sophisticated and require higher performing transistors, engineers have been seeking an alternative like GaN-based transistors that can perform better than silicon and in extreme conditions.”
Huang has shown that his innovation can integrate several important electronic functions onto one chip, “significantly simplifying entire electronic systems”.
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