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.
Resonant Tunneling of Electrons: Application of Electromagnetic Concepts to Quantum Mechanic Phenomena
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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...
NanoMOS 2.5 Source Code Download
22 Feb 2005 | | Contributor(s):: Zhibin Ren, Sebastien Goasguen
NanoMOS is a 2-D simulator for thin body (less than 5 nm), fully depleted, double-gated n-MOSFETs. A choice of five transport models is available (drift-diffusion, classical ballistic, energy transport, quantum ballistic, and quantum diffusive). The transport models treat quantum effects in the...
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...
Nanoelectronic Scaling Tradeoffs: What does Physics Have to Say?
23 Sep 2003 | | Contributor(s):: Victor Zhirnov
Beyond CMOS, several completely new approaches to information-processing and data-storage technologies and architectures are emerging to address the timeframe beyond the current SIA International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). A wide range of new ideas have been proposed for...
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...
Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI)
22 Nov 2016
In this modular course, we will cover recent advances in Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI), which is a crucial reliability issue for Silicon Oxynitride and High K Metal Gate PMOS...