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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.
Moore's Law Forever?
5.0 out of 5 stars
10 Aug 2005 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Mark Lundstrom
This talk covers the big technological changes in the 20th and 21st century that were correctly predicted by Gordon Moore in 1965. Moore's Law states that the number of transistors on a silicon...
Nanodevices: A Bottom-up View
20 Jun 2005 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Supriyo Datta
It is common to differentiate between two ways of building a
nanodevice: a top-down approach where we start from something big and
chisel out what we want and a bottom-up approach where we...
Nanoelectronics: The New Frontier?
0.0 out of 5 stars
26 May 2005 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Mark Lundstrom
After forty years of advances in integrated circuit technology, microelectronics is undergoing a transformation to nanoelectronics. Modern day MOSFETs now have channel lengths of only 50 nm, and...
3.0 out of 5 stars
25 May 2005 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Mark Lundstrom
The transistor is the basic element of electronic systems. The integrated circuits inside today's personal computers, cell phones, PDA's, etc., contain hundreds of millions of transistors on a...
Exponential Challenges, Exponential Rewards - The Future of Moore's Law
14 Dec 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Shekhar Borkar
Three exponentials have been the foundation of today's electronics, which are often taken for granted—namely transistor density, performance, and energy. Moore's Law captures the impact of...
NEMO 1-D: The First NEGF-based TCAD Tool and Network for Computational Nanotechnology
04 Nov 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Gerhard Klimeck
Nanotechnology has received a lot of public attention since U.S. President Clinton announced the U.S.
National Nanotechnology Initiative. New approaches to applications in electronics,...
Electronic Transport in Semiconductors (Introductory Lecture)
26 Aug 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Mark Lundstrom
Welcome to the ECE 656 Introductory lecture. The objective of the course is to develop a clear, physical understanding of charge carrier transport in bulk semiconductors and in small semiconductor...
Nanoelectronics and the Future of Microelectronics
12 Apr 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): Mark Lundstrom
Progress in silicon technology continues to outpace the historic pace of Moore's Law, but the end of device scaling now seems to be only 10-15 years away. As a result, there is intense interest in...
Towards a Terahertz Solid State Bloch Oscillator
12 Apr 2004 | Online Presentations | Contributor(s): S. James Allen
The concepts of Bloch oscillation and Zener breakdown are fundamental to electron motion in periodic potentials and were described in the earliest theoretical developments of electron transport in...