breakthrough semiconducting nanowires

Product image

Experts in the industry have predicted that within the next five to ten years the dimension of silicon transistors may have been pushed to their limits and it will be impossible to make them any smaller, therefore without a miracle breakthrough on some level Moores Law will cease to exist.

A group of engineers however from IBM, Purdue University and the University of California have managed to create nanowires coated in materials which make for efficient transistors. Nanowires are nanostructures with the diameter of the order of a nanometer and by using nanotechnology such components could be created out of chemical compounds. Nanowires have many interesting properties that are not seen in bulk or 3-D materials … this is because electrons in nanowires are quantum confined laterally and occupy energy levels that are different from the traditional progression of energy levels or bands found in bulk materials.

“Having sharply defined layers of materials enables you to improve and control the flow of electrons and to switch this flow on and off.” said Eric Stach, associate professor of materials Engineering from Purdue.

The research team have said that electronic devices are often created of heterostructures – a terminology that means the structure contains sharply defined layers of different semiconducting materials such as germanium and silicon. The issues in the past have revolved around producing nanowires with the necessary defined layer structures.

In the November 27th edition of ‘Science‘ the team have said that their transistors are not made on flat pieces of silicon but the nanowires have been created vertically making them have a much finer footprint which means that many more nanowires can be placed in the same area of silicon compound.

The nanowires were formed by heating tiny particles of a gold aluminium alloy inside a vacuum chamber and after this alloy was melted down, they then injected silicon gas and the alloy head absorbed the gas becoming supersaturated with silicon. This in effect causes the silicon wire to increase in mass from the alloy bead and produce a final product of silicon wire with a mushroom shaped gold-aluminum alloy bead. Then the researchers reduced the temperature of the chamber by a specific factor to allow the alloy bead at the head of the wire tip to solidify, thereby allowing germanium to be deposited on the silicon precisely creating the required heterostructure needed to create a transistor. The heterostructure allows the formation of a germanium gate in each transistor allowing devices to switch on and off.

Stach said that the the cycle could be repeated, switching the gases from germanium to silicon as desired to make specific types of heterostructures.

Leave a Reply

Related posts

PS4 System Software Update 2.55 released

PS4 System Software Update 2.55 released

An update to the system software for PlayStation 4 systems was released on 1 July 2015. You can use this to update your system software to version 2.55. Always update your PS4 system to the latest version of the system software. By updating, you can enjoy additional features, improved...

New Xbox Features in Preview on Windows 10 and Xbox One

New Xbox Features in Preview on Windows 10 and Xbox One

Earlier this month, we made some big announcements at E3 about bringing two highly-anticipated features to Xbox One preview program members—Xbox One Backward Compatibility and game streaming from your Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC. Today, we’re sharing even more new Xbox on Windows 10 features...

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 With Apple Music, Beats 1, and Revamped Music App

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 With Apple Music, Beats 1, and Revamped Music App

Apple today released iOS 8.4, the fourth major update to iOS 8. First seeded to developers in April, iOS 8.4 includes a newly revamped Music app and Apple's long-awaited on-demand streaming music service, Apple Music. iOS 8.4 is available immediately as an over-the-air download, and the new...