Tag Archives: Transistors

CA Lab Creates the World’s Smallest Transistors

Nanotransistors just got a lot more nano. A new chip construction process cooked up by Applied Materials in Santa Clara creates transistors so small they can be measured in smatterings of atoms.

The company can now coax a few dozen of the little guys to assemble themselves into a base layer that helps control the flow of electricity on computer chips. The biggest development is the manufacturing process: Applied Materials devised a way to keep several interconnected manufacturing machines in a near-total vacuum—at this level, a single stray nanoparticle can ruin everything.

The other part of the breakthrough is making this base from hafnium (used also in nuclear control rods) instead of the standard silicon oxynitride, which is terrible at holding back electrons on a supersmall scale. (Gordon Moore himself has called this technique the biggest advancement in the field in 40 years—and it is likely to keep processors advancing on pace with his eponymous law for the foreseeable future.)

Applied Materials’ system means transistors can be about 22 nanometers wide, as opposed to the current standard of about 45 nanometers, resulting in smaller, cheaper computing devices.

CA Lab Creates the World’s Smallest Transistors – [Link]

Interfacing Microcontroller: Darlington Transistors

jumperone.com writes:

In this video I’ll tell you what is darlington transistors, how to use them to switch medium current loads with microcontroller and what downsides they have.

Also you’ll find out about darlington arrays. Of course there would be small demonstration of controlling different loads at the end of this video.

Interfacing Microcontroller: Darlington Transistors – [Link]

Transistors: Plugging the leaks

Transistors: Plugging the leaks @ The Economist – [via]

MOORE’S LAW—the prediction made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, that the number of transistors on a chip of given size would double every two years—has had a good innings. The first integrated circuit (invented by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, see above) was a clunky affair. Now the size of transistors is measured in billionths of a metre. Moore’s law has yielded fast, smart computers, with pretty graphics and worldwide connections. It has thereby ushered in an age of information technology unimaginable when Dr Moore coined it. Not bad going for what was originally just an off-the-cuff observation.

That observation, however, is not truly a law. It is, rather, the description of a journey of many steps, each a specific technological change (see chart below). That new steps will happen is as much an article of faith as a prediction. Every time transistors shrink, they get closer to the point where they can shrink no further—for if the law continues on its merry way, transistors will be the size of individual silicon atoms within two decades.

Transistors: Plugging the leaks – [Link]

Intel Announces first 22nm 3D Tri-Gate Transistors

anandtech.com writes:

Earlier today Intel announced that its 22nm process would not use conventional planar transistors but rather be the first time Intel is using 3D Tri-Gate transistors. This is a huge announcement that fuels Intel’s leadership in the mobile/desktop/server CPU space and makes it a lot more attractive in the SoC space, let’s understand why.

Intel Announces first 22nm 3D Tri-Gate Transistors – [Link]

Carbon nanotube transistors could lead to inexpensive electronics

Is it possible to begin a new era of cheap electronics…If this is true, the development of a new production method could make it possible to manufacture superior-quality, flexible, electronic products at an extremely affordable price.

According to Aalto University in Finland, Professor Yutaka Ohno of the University of Nagoya in Japan and Professor Esko I. Kauppinen Aalto from universities and their research team have created a quick and effortless way to create high-performance, thin-film transistors on plastic substrate, professors think that the technology for semiconductor manufacturing, carbon nanotube plastic substrates will make it so that companies can manufacture flexible electronic products, such as electronic paper, with minimal costs.

The findings are published on 6 February in an electronic form of nanotechnology in the academic journal Nature Nanotechnology. [via]

Carbon nanotube transistors could lead to inexpensive electronics – [Link]

Nanowires key to future transistors


A new generation of ultrasmall transistors and more powerful computer chips using tiny structures called semiconducting nanowires are closer to reality after a key discovery by researchers at IBM, Purdue University and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Nanowires key to future transistors – [Link]

Reverse-Engineering Custom Logic (Part 1)

Today we are taking you one step deeper into a microchip than we usually go. We look at transistors and the logic functions they compose, which helps us understand custom ASICs now found in some secured processors.

To reverse-engineer the secret functionality of an ASIC, we identify logic blocks, map out the wiring between the blocks, and reconstruct the circuit diagram. Today, we’ll only be looking at the first step: reading logic.

Reverse-Engineering Custom Logic (Part 1) – [Link]

Scrounging for Power Transistors


While working on a variable current load for some power supply testing I discovered that I had no medium size (T0-220) power transistors. I needed one to act as the pass element controlling load current. I did a quick look in my box of old electronic gadgets for scrounging and found several candidates which would surely have a power transistor or two. I had some old dead UPS units that surly had power transistors but just as I went for my screwdriver I noticed the inverter circuit from the desk lamp I modified into a camera swing arm in a previous project.

Scrounging for Power Transistors – [Link]