Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Posted: April 25, 2014
The semiconductor industry continually advances towards making more efficient devices. This entails making smaller and smaller devices, which leads to an increase in computing power and speed of computers and electronics. However, there are physical limits beyond which conventional “top-down” techniques using photolithography cease to produce reliable devices. Much research is currently being conducted to investigate alternative “bottom‑up” techniques and structures, including molecular electronics. In addition to their potentially high device density, molecular devices may also consume much less power and mitigate the currently high temperatures in conventional microelectronics.
Researchers at the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology have devised a molecular electronic junction that permits ballistic (rapid, non-resistive) transport. The three-terminal device has a configuration similar to a bipolar junction transistor and is compatible with current commercial processing techniques and materials. However, the operating principle is not based on traditional diffusive transport; rather it is based on tunneling and ballistic transport, thus permitting high speed and low power consumption. A ballistic two-terminal junction based on the same principle can be used to generate light over a range of visible and infrared wavelengths. These devices may provide faster, more efficient alternatives to semiconductor technology in computer logic and display applications.
- Molecular electronic junction to enable smaller and more efficient devices
- Ballistic transport leading to fast operation, less power usage, and minimal heat generation
- Compatible with current commercial processing techniques and materials
- Three-terminal device for computing, two-terminal device for light generation
The present method represents a valuable opportunity in the semiconductor and electronics industry through smaller devices that operate at rapid speeds and with higher efficiency.