Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Highly efficient transistors - Already possible?

Today's electronics is found on transistors. A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals. Transistors are made of a solid piece of semiconductor material, with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. The science is constantly seeking new ways to make transistors more efficient in terms of consuming less energy. The breakthrough discovery comes from Swiss scientists who were able to make transistors targeting high switching speeds and higher output powers. These transistors can be used more efficiently compared to conventional transistors, and they do not only reduce energy consumption but also CO2 emissions.

The structure of this highly efficient transistors is very complex; some of these transistors are only only a few nanometers in size, and can be found in most electronic networks.

In order to make transistors highly efficient the scientists had to make movement of the electrons through the semiconductor material as fast as possible. They were able to achieve this with the newer material combination consisting of Alumimium Indium Nitride that has a much larger "forbidden energy gap" than other commonly used semiconductors.

Semiconductors with the larger energy gap are much better option because this enables transistors to operate at much higher temperatures, sustain greater voltage levels, and handle higher signal power levels than transistors with smaller gap conventional materials such as Silicon.