Electronic Phase Change Transistor CreatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 27, 2012 07:16AM
Phase Change Materials (PCMs) have been considered for several technologies from heating and cooling systems to computer components. The computer components take advantage of the change in crystalline structure in some materials caused by an external voltage, and now researchers at RIKEN have created a transistor that switches its electronic state when exposed to just 1 V of potential. This is possible because of the strongly-correlated nature of the material vanadium dioxide (VO2).
Strongly-correlated materials have curious properties as their electrons can be made to act together in unusual ways. In this case, putting a potential of just 1 V on the surface of the material switches its electronic state from being an insulator to being a conductor. The switch is quite dramatic too as its conductance increases by a factor of 1000 at the switch. The researchers also found the crystalline structure of the material changes at this time as well.
Changes like this are not possible with traditional semiconducting materials, like those used in the transistors we have been using for the past 60 years or so. This discovery therefore, has great potential to develop new kinds of technology, including low-power devices and nonvolatile memory.