New transistor can slash gadget power consumption


Researchers have developed a transistor capable of slashing the power consumption of semiconductors by more than 90 percent, possibly paving the way for sharply prolonging battery life in smartphones and reducing wasted energy in digital home electronics while in standby mode, Hokkaido University announced.

With the product, which runs on less electricity than the conventional theoretical limit for transistors, “every electronics device can conserve energy,” said team member Katsuhiro Tomioka.

After successfully arraying ultrafine needles about 80 nanometers in diameter in high densities on the surface of a silicon platform, the team made a transistor using the needles for a circuit, the university said.

They achieved so-called electron tunneling, a phenomenon in which electrons tunnel through the joints between the needles and the platform, making possible the low-power transistor, the school said.

Because transistors are used as an element in large-scale integrated (LSI) circuits, businesses around the world are in competition to develop one using electron tunneling as a technology essential for next-generation LSIs, it said.