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On June 30, 1948, AT&T Bell Labs unveiled the transitor to the world, creating a spark of explosive economic growth that would lead into the Information Age. William Shockley led a team of researchers, including Walter Brattain and John Bardeen, who invented the device. Like the existing triode vacuum tube device, the transistor could amplify signals and switch currents on and off, but the transistor was smaller, cheaper, and more efficient. Moreover, it could be integrated with millions of other transistors onto a single chip, creating the integrated circuit at the heart of modern computers.
Today, most transistors are being manufactured with a minimum feature size of 60-90nm--roughly 200-300 atoms. As the push continues to make devices even smaller, researchers must account for quantum mechanical effects in the device behavior. With fewer and fewer atoms, the positions of impurities and other irregularities begin to matter, and device reliability becomes an issue. So rather than shrink existing devices, many researchers are working on entirely new devices, based on carbon nanotubes, spintronics,
molecular conduction, and other nanotechnologies.
Learn more about transistors from the many resources on this site, listed below. Use our simulation tools to simulate performance characteristics for your own devices.
Illinois ECE 440 Solid State Electronic Devices, Lecture 4: Energy Bands, Carrier Statistics, Drift
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19 Aug 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Eric Pop
Energy Bands and CarriersBand gaps (lattice and temperature dependence)Band curvatureCarrier effective mass
Illinois ECE 440 Solid State Electronic Devices, Lecture 2: Crystal Lattices
14 Aug 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Eric Pop
Crystal Lattices:Periodic arrangement of atomsRepeated unit cells (solid-state)Stuffing atoms into unit cellsDiamond (Si) and zinc blende (GaAs)crystal structuresCrystal planesCalculating densities
High-Aspect-Ratio Micromachining of Titanium: Enabling New Functionality and Opportunity in Micromechanical Systems Through Greater Materials Selection
18 Jun 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Masa Rao
Traditionally, materials selection has been limited in high-aspect-ratio micromechanical applications, due primarily to the predominance of microfabrication processes and infrastructure dedicated to silicon. While silicon has proven to be an excellent material for many of these applications, no...
04 Jun 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Ian Appelbaum
"Electronics" uses our ability to control electrons with electric fields via interaction with their fundamental charge. Because we can manipulate the electric fields within semiconductors, they are the basis for microelectronics, and silicon (Si) is the most widely-used semiconductor for...
Nanoscale Opto Thermo Electric Energy Conversion Devices
28 May 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Ali Shakouri
We review solid-state devices that allow direct conversion of heat into electricity. We describe fundamental and practical limits of conventional thermoelectric materials. Novel metal-semiconductor nanocomposites are developed where the heat and charge transport are modified at the atomic level....
Functionalized Nanomaterials at the Interface of Biology and Technology
24 Apr 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Dean Ho, National Center for Learning & Teaching in Nanosca
Nanomaterials, such as block copolymeric membranes and nanodiamonds, can be engineered for a broad range of applications in energy and medicine. This presentation will highlight the relevance of these materials as foundations for device fabrication across the spectrum of biology and technology....
Nanoelectronic Modeling: Multimillion Atom Simulations, Transport, and HPC Scaling to 23,000 Processors
07 Mar 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Gerhard Klimeck
Future field effect transistors will be on the same length scales as “esoteric” devices such as quantum dots, nanowires, ultra-scaled quantum wells, and resonant tunneling diodes. In those structures the behavior of carriers and their interaction with their environment need to be fundamentally...
What Promises do Nanotubes and Nanowires Hold for Future Nanoelectronics Applications?
18 Feb 2008 | | Contributor(s):: Joerg Appenzeller
Various low-dimensional materials are currently explored for future electronics applications. The common ground for all these structures is that the surface related impact can no longer be ignored – the common approach applied to predict properties of bulk-type three-dimensional (3D) materials....
TCAD Revisited, 2007: An Engineer’s Point of View
19 Dec 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Constantin Bulucea
This presentation was one of 13 presentations in the one-day forum, "Excellence in Computer Simulation," which brought together a broad set of experts to reflect on the future of computational science and engineering.
MCW07 Impact of Porphyrin Functional Groups on InAs Gas Sensors
05 Nov 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Michael Garcia
Porphyrin molecules are often used for sensor engineering to improve sensitivity and selectivity to specific analytes. It is important to understand how the porphyrin HOMO-LUMO levels deplete surface states during functionalization of solid state sensors. Additionally, the effect of...
Silicon Photonics: Opportunity Challenges and Recent Results
02 Nov 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Mario Paniccia
The silicon chip has been the mainstay of the electronics industry for the last 40 years and has revolutionized the way the world operates. Today a silicon chip the size of a fingernail contains nearly one billion transistors and has the computing power that only a decade ago would take up an...
Hexagonal Prism Blue Diode Laser Using Whispering Gallery Mode (WGM) Resonances
23 Oct 2007 | | Contributor(s):: sangho kim
Semiconductor lasers have many important applications, including communication technologies, optical storage, printing, and molecular detection. The range of applications could be broadened significantly if the lasers could be made smaller and with lower threshold currents. Today’s in-plane...
Introduction of MEMS Activity at Nano/Micro System Engineering Lab., Kyoto University
15 Sep 2007 | | Contributor(s):: OSAMU TABATA
We are aiming at the realization of microsystems and nanosystems with novel and unique functions by integrating functional elements in different domains such as mechanics, electronics, chemistry, optics and biotechnology. These micro/nano systems are expected to be novel machines, which will...
MCW07 Modeling Charging-based Switching in Molecular Transport Junctions
23 Aug 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Sina Yeganeh, , Mark Ratner
We will discuss several proposed explanations for the switching and negative differential resistance behavior seen in some molecular junctions. It is shown that a proposed polaron model is successful in predicting both hysteresis and NDR behavior, and the model is elaborated with image charge...
Electronics From the Bottom Up: top-down/bottom-up views of length
17 Aug 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Muhammad A. Alam
When devices get small stochastic effects become important. Random dopant effects lead to uncertainties in a MOSFET’s threshold voltage and gate oxides breakdown is a random process. Even a concept as simple as “channel length” becomes uncertain. This short (20 min) talk, a footnote to the...
The Nano-MOSFET: A brief introduction
17 Aug 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Mark Lundstrom
MOSFET channel lengths are now well below 100nm, and getting smaller, but MOSFETs are still modeled and understood much as they were 30 years ago. Seminal work in the 1960’s laid the foundation for our understanding of the MOSFET, but traditional approaches are based on concepts that lose...
The Effect of Physical Geometry on the Frequency Response of Carbon Nanotube Field-Effect Transistors
03 Aug 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Dave Lyzenga
In order for carbon nanotube (CNT) electrical devices to be fabricated, it is necessary to obtain modifiable operation characteristics. Developing parametric equations to achieve this controllability in the vertical field-effect transistor (FET) design is an important first step toward...
Introduction to and Advances in Self-Healing Polymers
14 Jun 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Gerald O. Wilson
The presenter briefly introduces the topic of Self-Healing Polymer research and continues to give a Survey of Ruthenium Metathesis Catalysts for Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization-Based Self-Healing ApplicationsGerald O. Wilson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Materials Science...
Orbital Mediated Tunneling in a New Unimolecular Rectifier
25 May 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Robert Metzger, NCN at Northwestern University
In 1997 we showed that hexadecylquinolinium tricyanoquinodimethanide is a unimolecular rectifier, by scanning tunneling microscopy and also as a Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) monolayer, sandwiched between Al electrodes. We have now seen rectification in a new molecule: this rectification can be...
Piezoelectric Transducers: Strain Sensing and Energy Harvesting (and Frequency Tuning)
15 Jun 2007 | | Contributor(s):: Toshikazu Nishida
Acoustic pressure or mechanical force sensing via piezoelectric coupling is closely related to the harvesting of electrical energy from acoustical and mechanical energy sources. In this talk, mesoscale and microscale piezoelectric transducers for acoustic and vibrational sensing and energy...