New Type of Tunneling Transistor Created
At almost regular intervals, the size of the transistors used in our modern electronics decreases, which allows for more to be fit onto chips. This has the effect of increasing performance, but not necessarily power usage, as that value does not decrease quite as well as the size. Researchers at Penn State, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and IQE however have developed a new type of transistor that can offer considerable reductions in power usage, without sacrificing operating frequency.
The new transistor type is called a near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor and it takes advantage of the quantum mechanical phenomenon known as tunneling. Tunneling is an interesting phenomenon that allows quantum particles, such as electrons, to pass through barriers they technically should not be able to. It also enables the electrons to flow at significantly lower energies than those used in conventional CMOS transistors.
While it is probably quite easy to see how this could be applied in our computers, other electronic devices should also be able to benefit from this. For example, medical implants that cannot put out too much heat and that require surgery to replace batteries could be greatly improved by these more efficient transistors.
Source: Penn State