In the semiconductor industry, there is currently one main strategy for improving the speed and efficiency of devices: scale down the device dimensions in order to fit more transistors onto a computer chip, in accordance with Moore’s law. However, the number of transistors on a computer chip cannot exponentially increase forever, and this is motivating researchers to look for other ways to improve semiconductor technologies.
In a new study published in Nanotechnology, a team of researchers at SUNY-Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York, has suggested that combining multiple functions in a single semiconductor device can improve device functionality and reduce fabrication complexity, thereby providing an alternative to scaling down the device’s dimensions as the only method to improve functionality.
To demonstrate, the researchers designed and fabricated a reconfigurable device that can morph into three fundamental semiconductor devices: a p-n diode (which functions as a rectifier, for converting alternating current to direct current), a MOSFET (for switching), and a bipolar junction transistor (or BJT, for current amplification).
“We are able to demonstrate the three most important semiconductor devices (p-n diode, MOSFET, and BJT) using a single reconfigurable device,” coauthor Ji Ung Lee at the SUNY-Polytechnic Institute told Phys.org. “While these devices can be fabricated individually in modern semiconductor fabrication facilities, often requiring complex integration schemes if they are to be combined, we can form a single device that can perform the functions of all three devices.” Source: 3-in-1 device offers alternative to Moore’s law