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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.

Events (1-2 of 2)

  1. Dec 07 2011

    International Semiconductor Device Research Symposium (ISDRS) 2011

    The International Semiconductor Device Research Symposium is a biennial conference on exploratory research in electronic and photonic materials and devices. Bringing together diverse participants,...

  2. Jul 20 2009

    2009 NCN@Purdue Summer School: Electronics from the Bottom Up

    Electronics from the Bottom Up seeks to bring a new perspective to engineering education -- one that is designed to help realize the opportunities of nanotechnology. Ever since the birth of..., a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.