Stuff your silicon, room temperature quantum transistors offer a golden future

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2013 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: quantum dots, nanotubes, gold, boron nitride

The biggest hurdle in building a transistor that uses quantum effects to move electrons is that the transistor needs to be kept at incredibly low temperatures, a drawback common to anyone who has worked with superconductors.  Since the hoped for benefit of using quantum effect transistors is to avoid the heat generated in current silicon based models, it defeats the entire purpose of the project if you still need a custom cooling solution.  According to this article at The Register you might not need to worry about supercooling your transistors thanks to work being done by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the MTU group who have created a transistor made up of three nanometer gold quantum dots, insulated by boron nitride nanotubes which successfully transferred electrons at room temperature.  You will not be seeing this technology in consumer products any time soon and the boffins in the EUV lithographic business come up with a few new tricks in the mean time.

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"The world might still be 20 years from the end of Moore's Law, but the hunt for technologies to replace semiconductors is going on right now. A group from Michigan Technological University is offering one such alternative: a quantum tunnelling transistor that operates at room temperature."

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Source: The Register

News from the Common Platform Technology Forum

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2013 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: IBM, Samsung, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, CNTFETs, nanotubes

You might not think of IBM, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries as working together for a common goal, but much like the HSA the Common Platform Technology Forum brings together some strange bedfellows.  The Tech Report had a chance to sit in on some of the conference and just how this disparate group of Fab owners and pure research companies are working together to shape the future of the silicon beasts we all love to hate.  One of the main topics of discussion was the move to the 14nm process and just how designs must change in order to shrink the process to that size while at the same time increasing wafer size, with GloFo showing off their plans for the near future.  You will also be introduced to the idea of CNTFETs, the proposed carbon nanotube based replacement for Silicon FinFETs which could beat the limits of even Extreme UV lithography if they can be coerced into self assembly.  Read on and check out where the second and third largest Fabs on the planet are headed in the next few years.

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"The opportunity doesn't come along every day to get a detailed peek into the future of computing from the people who are building it. Last week, I had just such a chance."

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Nanotubes will make fast non-volitile memory even if they are slow out of the gate

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2012 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: graphene, nanotubes, NRAM, non-volitle RAM, Van der Waals, Nantero

Nantero promised us that their nanotube based flash memory would be available in 2009 and disappointed us by failing to reach that goal but The Register has some great news, they currently have 4Mbit arrays of NRAM up and running in their labs.  These arrays are writing data as fast as 3 nanoseconds while producing reasonable heat and consuming what is described as low power.  Perhaps even more important in a market which is currently quite worried about the lifetime of flash memory, this nanotube based RAM has no write limit whatsoever and if it makes it into SSDs it will assuage the fears many users currently have.  The memory works based on resistance, when the tubes are not touching they are in a state of high resistance which represents a 0 and when touching they have low resistance and represent a 1.  The stiffness of the nanotubes keeps them in a separated state until close enough that the Van der Waals force keeps them touching ensures that this will be non-volatile RAM and will retain data without an external power source.  Hopefully we will be seeing more on this soon.

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"Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are cylindrical carbon allotropes, molecules up to a millimetre long but just a nanometer thick, and have a length-to-diameter of up to 132,000,000:1. Their walls are made up of single-atom-thick carbon sheets - graphene. CNTs are members of the fullerene family and their properties include the ability to conduct electricity as well as copper, while being stronger than steel and as hard as diamond."

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Source: The Register