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Materials Other Than Silicon For Next Generation Electronic Devices

By Penn State News

September 4, 2014

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University's Materials Research Institute say they have developed a novel transistor prototype designed to test nanowires made of compound semiconductors with the goal of finding a compound material that would retain its superior electron mobility at nanoscale dimensions in a FinFET device configuration.

The researchers found electron mobility declined in a regular slope and that results could be modeled by a method known as scattering relaxation time approximation. The researchers used this technique to predict how a compound semiconductor device would be likely to operate at the size at which the material likely would be adopted.

Transistor technology relies on two parameters known as "subthreshold slope" and "on current." Subthreshold slope refers to how efficiently a transistor can be turned on and off, and on current relates to how much current can be obtained from the device. If the transistor can get the same amount of current with a lower voltage, it will extend battery life and reduce the amount of excess heat.

The researchers found increasing the percentage of indium in the ternary material system significantly increased electron mobility. Mobility also can be improved by engineering the dimensions of the active material so the electrons are forced toward the middle of the material in a process called quantum confinement.

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