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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.
Bandstructure in Nanoelectronics
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01 Nov 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Gerhard Klimeck
This presentation will highlight, for nanoelectronic device examples, how the effective mass approximation breaks down and why the quantum mechanical nature of the atomically resolved material needs to be included in the device modeling. Atomistic bandstructure effects in resonant tunneling...
An Electrical Engineering Perspective on Molecular Electronics
26 Oct 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 that are less than 50 nm long, and billion transistor logic chips have arrived. Moore's Law continues, but the end of...
Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS): Coming Revolution in the Gathering of Information
01 Sep 2005 | | Contributor(s)::
Wireless integrated microsystems promise to become pervasive during the coming decade in applications ranging from health care and environmental monitoring to homeland security. Merging low-power embedded computing, wireless interfaces, and wafer-level packaging with microelectromechanical...
Simple Theory of the Ballistic MOSFET
11 Oct 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Mark Lundstrom
Silicon nanoelectronics has become silicon nanoelectronics, but we still analyze, design, and think about MOSFETs in more or less in the same way that we did 30 years ago. In this talk, I will describe a simple analysis of the ballistic MOSFET. No MOSFET is truly ballistic, but approaching this...
Laser Cooling of Solids
06 Oct 2005 | | Contributor(s)::
Enhanced laser cooling of ion doped nanocrystalline powders (e.g., Yb3+: Y2O3) can be achieved by enhancing the anti-Stokes, off-resonance absorption, which is proportional to the three design-controlled factors, namely, dopant concentration, pumping field energy, and anti-Stokes transition...
Semiconductor Interfaces at the Nanoscale
17 Oct 2005 | | Contributor(s):: David Janes
The trend in downscaling of electronic devices and the need to add functionalities such as sensing and nonvolatile memory to existing circuitry dictate that new approaches be developed for device structures and fabrication technologies. Various device technologies are being investigated,...
Plasmonic Nanophotonics: Coupling Light to Nanostructure via Plasmons
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...
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...
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...
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:...
Towards Molecular Electronic Circuitry: Selective Deposition of Metals on Patterned ...
28 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s)::
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...
Tuning of Electronic Properties of Organic Semiconductors...
27 Jul 2005 | | Contributor(s)::
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...