Pictured at the Trade and Investment Mission held in Silicon Valley were Hugh Cooney, Chairman of Enterprice Ireland; Roger Whatmore, CEO Tyndall National Institute and Brian Cowen, Taoiseach.
Image credit: Tyndall National Institute
This technology breakthrough is the result of research funded by Science Foundation Ireland and conducted by a team of scientists at Tyndall led by Professor Jean-Pierre Colinge. They designed and fabricated a junctionless transistor that significantly reduces power consumption and greatly simplifies the IC manufacturing process.
Tyndall's groundbreaking technology eliminates the need for a junction. Instead, the current flows in a very thin silicon wire and is perfectly controlled by a wedding ring structure that electrically squeezes the silicon wire in the same way that the flow of water through a hose can be controlled by squeezing the hose. These new structures are easy to fabricate, even at extremely small design nodes, thereby offering a significant potential to reduce manufacturing costs.
As design nodes shrink, minimizing current leakage has become a significant challenge. The Tyndall junctionless devices have near ideal electrical properties and behave like the most perfect transistors, thereby alleviating this challenge. In addition, they have the potential to operate at greater speeds and consume less energy than the conventional transistors used in today's microprocessors.
In other developments, researchers at Tyndall are exploring the use of alternative semiconductor materials formed from the elements in group 3 and 5 of the periodic table. These elements, known as III-Vs, have superior properties to silicon and offer the possibility of building microchips with superior performance and greater energy efficiency than those produced today. Fabricating fully operational III-V transistors will require combining III-V semiconductors with insulators of only a few atomic layers in thickness. To improve device performance, these insulating layers must have a high dielectric (high-k) constant.