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.
Plasmonic Nanophotonics: Coupling Light to Nanostructure via Plasmons
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03 Oct 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Vladimir M. Shalaev
The photon is the ultimate unit of information because it packages data in a signal of zero mass and has unmatched speed. The power of light is driving the photonicrevolution, and information technologies, which were formerly entirely electronic, are increasingly enlisting light to communicate...
On the Reliability of Micro-Electronic Devices: An Introductory Lecture on Negative Bias Temperature Instability
28 Sep 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Muhammad A. Alam
In 1930s Bell Labs scientists chose to focus on Siand Ge, rather than better known semiconductors like Ag2S and Cu2S, mostly because of their reliable performance. Their choice was rewarded with the invention of bipolar transistors several years later. In 1960s, scientists at Fairchild worked...
Modeling and Simulation of Sub-Micron Thermal Transport
26 Sep 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Jayathi Murthy
In recent years, there has been increasing interest in understanding thermal phenomena at the sub-micron scale. Applications include the thermal performance of microelectronic devices, thermo-electric energy conversion, ultra-fast laser machining and many others. It is now accepted that Fourier's...
21 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Gerhard Klimeck
Quantum Dots are man-made artificial atoms that confine electrons to a small space. As such, they have atomic-like behavior and enable the study of quantum mechanical effects on a length scale that is around 100 times larger than the pure atomic scale. Quantum dots offer application opportunities...
Parallel Computing for Realistic Nanoelectronic Simulations
12 Sep 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Gerhard Klimeck
Typical modeling and simulation efforts directed towards the understanding of electron transport at the nanometer scale utilize single workstations as computational engines. Growing understanding of the involved physics and the need to model realistically extended devices increases the complexity...
Towards Molecular Electronic Circuitry: Selective Deposition of Metals on Patterned ...
28 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Amy Walker
We have developed a robust method by which to construct complex two- and three- dimensional structures based on controlling interfacial chemistry. This work has important applications in molecular/organic electronics, sensing, and other technologies. Our method is extensible to many different...
Top-Metal/Molecular Monolayer Interactions and Final Device Performance
28 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Curt A Richter
The top-metal/molecular-monolayer interface is of critical importance in the formation of molecular electronic (ME) devices and test structures. I will discuss two experimental studies of ME devices in which the final device performance can be attributed to top-metal/molecule interactions:...
Tuning of Electronic Properties of Organic Semiconductors...
27 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Karin Potje-Kamloth
Intrinsic conducting polymers are key components in organic electronic devices. These materials are also known to be sensitive toward a variety of gases and vapors, which can be exploited by incorporation as chemical sensitive element in a nanoscale sensing system. The molecular interaction...
Numerical Aspects of NEGF: The Recursive Green Function Algorithm
14 Jun 2004 | | Contributor(s):: Gerhard Klimeck
Numerical Aspects of NEGF: The Recursive Green Function Algorithm
Resonant Tunneling of Electrons: Application of Electromagnetic Concepts to Quantum Mechanic Phenomena
14 Apr 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Greg Huff, Kevin Hietpas
Moore's Law Forever?
13 Jul 2005 | | 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 chip doubles every technology generation. In 1960s terms that meant every 12 months and currently this...
Nanodevices: A Bottom-up View
13 Jun 2005 | | 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 start from something small like atoms or molecules and assemble what we want.
Nanoelectronics: The New Frontier?
18 Apr 2005 | | 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 billion transistor logic chips have arrived. Moore’s Law continues, but the end of MOSFET scaling is...
04 Aug 2004 | | 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 chip of silicon about 2 cm on a side. Each technology generation, engineers shrink the size of...
Exponential Challenges, Exponential Rewards - The Future of Moore's Law
14 Dec 2004 | | 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 these exponentials. Exponentially increasing transistor integration capacity, and exponentially...
NEMO 1-D: The First NEGF-based TCAD Tool and Network for Computational Nanotechnology
28 Dec 2004 | | 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, materials,medicine, biology and a variety of other areas will be developed in this new multi-disciplinary...
Electronic Transport in Semiconductors (Introductory Lecture)
25 Aug 2004 | | 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 devices.The emphasis is on transport physics and its consequences in a device context. The course...
Nanoelectronics and the Future of Microelectronics
22 Aug 2002 | | 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 new, molecular-scale devices that might complement a basic silicon platform by providing it...
Towards a Terahertz Solid State Bloch Oscillator
29 Jan 2004 | | 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 solids. But only in the past 10 years have experiments clearly demonstrated various aspects of Bloch...