Science

US Researchers Create World’s Smallest Transistor With Functional 1-Nanometer Gate

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 10, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
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Many of the things in modern technology are getting smaller. As tech gets smaller, much more information and other things could be made with it. Now researchers have made what could possibly the smallest transistor ever created.

Engineers have been making the smallest transistor for integrated circuits. For some time, transistors are thought to have a limit of 5-nanometers for their smallest size. Now that notion has being challenged, and ultimately proven wrong.

The research team that has made the smallest transistor is from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory led by its faculty scientist, Ali Javey. This small transistor is said to have a 1-nanometer gate, using carbon nanotubes and molybdenum disulfide, according to Science Daily.

With this small transistor, the possibility to make even better computers and other devices has been opened up. Performance for laptops, desktop PCs and even mobile devices could be increased with the development of the 1-nanometer transistor.

The semiconductor industry has long been fixed on 5-nanometer transistors and has said that transistors below that would not work, as Sujay Desai, the lead author and graduate student from Javey's lab, has said.

Perhaps key to its development is that it doesn't use silicon as its component. The International Business Times notes that silicon has long been used since if could let electrons flow freely and that flow could easily be controlled. However, silicon also has a size limit, and could not go beyond that size.

While the smallest transistor has been made, it might not be available for commercial use yet. One of the present challenges is putting a number of the transistors into a chip. The possibility is there though.

Current silicon transistors have a gate length of 10-nanometers as the smallest, and soon, smaller ones could be made. Overcoming the challenges in making such chips would have to be made first before even smaller ones for mobile phones could be created.

NASA has also developed a polymer that could possibly heal astronauts.

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