Home Technology Tiny transistors pave the way for next-generation 2D technology

Tiny transistors pave the way for next-generation 2D technology

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Researchers from UNSW Sydney have developed a tiny, transparent and flexible material to be used as a new semiconductor component in transistors, potentially paving the way for new 2D electronic applications.

Researchers in Institute of Future Materials and Production UNSW (MMFI) has produced an array of transparent field-effect transistors using a free-standing single crystal membrane of strontium titanium (STO) with a performance consistent with the performance of modern silicon semiconductor field-effect transistors.

“Our work allows us to do what silicon semiconductor electronics cannot do,” said Professor Sean Lee, director of the MMFI and lead researcher who led the study.

“This not only opens a critical path to overcoming the fundamental limitations of the modern silicon semiconductor industry in miniaturization, but also fills a gap in semiconductor applications due to the opaque and rigid nature of silicon.”

Research work, published last week in Naturedemonstrates the potential for large-scale fabrication of 2D field-effect transistors, overcoming the challenges of producing nanosized silicon semiconductors and providing reliable capacitance and efficient switching.

“The key innovation of this work is that we have converted conventional 3D bulk materials into a quasi-2D shape without compromising their properties – meaning they can be assembled freely, like Lego blocks, with other materials to create high-performance transistors. for a variety of new and undiscovered applications, ”said Dr. Jing-Kai Huang, lead author of the study.

“Simultaneously elastic and delicate nature allows you to create flexible and transparent 2D electronics.”

Silicon-based hard technologies have been ubiquitous for decades, but these new transistors bring applications to life, from augmented reality and flexible displays to next-generation wearables – and, of course, still unknown applications in nanoelectronics, communications, healthcare and more. .

Breaking a bottleneck

A transistor is a small semiconductor device used as a switch or amplifier. All electronics, from torches to hearing aids and supercomputers, have become possible thanks to the different arrangements and interactions of transistors, resistors and capacitors.

For example, the latest Apple MacBook is equipped with a microprocessor that includes more than 10 billion transistors per square millimeter, and the size of individual transistors is less than 20 nanometers.

Technology is getting smaller and more powerful over time, and our lives continue to change in countless ways – primarily through faster and cheaper electronics. Now new research is developing around 2D, ultrathin semiconductors.

“As this microelectronic miniaturization takes place, the materials currently in use go to limits due to energy loss and dissipation as signals pass from one transistor to another,” Lee said.

“With such restrictions, there is a huge desire to radically introduce new materials and technologies to meet the insatiable needs of the global microelectronics market.”

This, according to the lead researcher, is one of the key bottlenecks that need to be addressed to create a new generation of futuristic electronic devices and applications.

“We are now working on the production of waffles. Achieving this will allow us to produce more complex circuits with a density closer to commercial products. This is a crucial step for our technology to reach people, ”Juan said.

“Because of changing geopolitics and the pandemic, we are seeing more disruptions in the global semiconductor supply chain, and we believe this is also an opportunity for Australia to join this supply chain and strengthen it with our unique technology in the near future.”

MMFI scientists across the UNSW have collaborated to bring their diverse expertise to work, which they believe is a promising step towards a new era of electronics as well as the sustainability of local production.

The breakthrough technology is currently protected by two Australian preliminary patent applications, and the MMFI and UNSW are seeking to commercialize intellectual property to bring its benefits to the world.

“We are currently conducting long-term testing of the reliability of the devices,” Lee said.

“At the same time, we are turning to several leading industries in the Asia-Pacific region to attract investment and build semiconductor production facilities in New South Wales by industrializing this technology.”

Image: © stock.adobe.com/au/ipopba

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