A Road to Versatile Nanoelectronics: Quantum Transistors
Nanoelectronics is a new and fast-growing technology in which crucial aspects of semiconductor components like as logic transistors and memory measure far under 100 nm. This is a little technology with huge potential because of its possible applications in quantum computing, improved memory, and energy storage and generation.
The Evolution of Nanoelectronics
The first nanoscale electronic devices were developed by researchers in the 1960s, who produced a gold thin film just 10 nm in thickness as the base for a metal-semiconductor junction transistor. A team of IBM researchers produced the first metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) with a gate oxide thickness of only 10 nm in the late 1980s. To attain this nanoscale dimension, the product utilized tungsten gate technology. The FinFET, the first multi-gate MOSFET, was created in 1989. The FinFET, or fin field effect transistor, is a three-dimensional, non-planar, double-gate MOSFET. A 10 nm FinFET was created in 2002.
In order to demonstrate how far MOSFET transistor technology may advance our understanding of nanoscale electronics, a CMOS (complementary MOS) transistor was created in 1999. A MOSFET that was only 3 nm in size was created by researchers in 2006, making it the smallest nanoelectronic device ever created at the time. In the 2010s, nanoelectronic semiconductor devices entered mass manufacturing. Currently, Samsung is putting a 3 nm GAAFET, or gate round FET, on the market.
Nanoelectronics Turn into a Reality
The newest advancement in decades of cutting-edge study in nanosciences and nanotechnology is nanoscale electrical devices, or, to be more precise, they are the pinnacle of that research. Researchers at the forefront of physics, materials science, instrumentation design, and manufacturing development have been pursuing ever smaller microscopic measurements ever since Richard Feynman suggested the possibility of computing with “submicroscopic” computers in a ground-breaking lecture in 1959.
Personal computers, cell phones, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and many other common game changers of the modern world depend on advancements made by nanoelectronic research. This path has led to a number of ground-breaking applications in information and communication technology (ICT). However, we haven’t yet seen nanoelectronic products on store shelves.
Despite the remarkable advancements in semiconductor technology, even minuscule computers remain largely unattainable. Nanoscale (sub-microscopic) computers might be even further off. We might even be getting close to the minimal system size limit of the current semiconductor technology. In the coming decades, however, advancements in nanoelectronics may allow us to overcome this barrier and create true sub-microscopic, nanoscale electronic devices.
Moving Nanoelectronics Forward
Researchers believe that combining microelectronic and nanoelectronic devices in hybrid systems is the best strategy to produce nanoelectronics. This technique builds on previous advances in microelectronics, such as the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, which has brought to market several MEMS sensors such as accelerometers and microphones, magnetometers and gyroscopes, and even power generators.
A solid-state quantum effect nanoelectronic device for resonance tunnelling is one recent breakthrough exploring this hybrid method. The technology employs a normal silicon bulk effect transistor to create a multi-state switching device known by its makers as a “resonance tunnelling transistor.”The resonance tunnelling transistor can be utilised to create circuits with higher accessible logic density than standard microelectronic transistor logic. The single electron transistor, or SET, is another nanoelectronic device in development. The SET is a switching device that uses electron tunnelling to increase a current.
Competent Nanoelectronic Devices
- Spintronic: plays a role in new technologies that exploit quantum behaviour for computing
- Optoelectronics: Nanofibers and carbon nanotubes have been used and especially graphene has shown exciting potential for optoelectronic devices.Displays technology areas; Organic LEDs, electronic paper and other devices intended to show still images, and Field Emission Displays. For more, read our special section on
- Wearable, flexible electronics: The age of wearable electronics is upon us as witnessed by the fast-growing array of smartwatches, fitness bands and other advanced, next-generation health monitoring devices such as electronic stick-on tattoos.
- Solar cells and supercapacitors are examples of areas where nanoelectronics is playing a major role in energy generation and storage.
Next-Generation Devices for ICs: Quantum Transistors
A new generation of transistors takes advantage of so-called quantum phenomena, which become more important as device dimensions shrink to a few nanometers. The placement of an individual electron is regulated in this regime. In addition, electrons can tunnel through energy barriers that would otherwise prevent them from moving in the world of classical physics. The author of the September IEEE Spectrum article explains numerous types of quantum devices that are currently in development.
The smaller the quantum transistor, the better it performs. As a result, device density is mostly determined by manufacturing processes’ ever-increasing ability to minimise feature sizes–even to atomic-scale dimensions. Because the devices are powered by only a few electrons, switching frequency approaching terahertz is possible.
The double-electron-layer tunnelling transistor (Deltt) was developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though the Deltt’s inventors are still in the early stages of research, they are basing their hopes for high speed on results gained with quantum devices identical to the Deltt, except that they have two terminals instead of three. They are known as resonant tunnel diodes, and they have been demonstrated to work at frequencies of up to 700 GHz.