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From Massive Supercomputers Come Tiniest Transistors

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ultra thin body transistor, illustration

An internal representation of an ultra thin body transistor.

Credit: Institute for Nanoelectronic Modeling

Purdue University researchers have created NEMO5, a set of software tools that can be used by developers to predict the future behavior of nanoscale transistors. NEMO5 simulates the multiscale, multiphysics phenomena that occur when an electric charge passes through a few-atoms-wide transistor. The software helps researchers design future generations of nanoelectronic devices, including transistors and quantum dots, and predicts device performances and phenomena that otherwise could not be explored. "What we're building is an engineering tool that will be used in the understanding and design of devices that are at the end of Moore's Law," says Purdue professor Gerhard Klimeck.

The researchers are using the Blue Waters supercomputer to study the limits of current semiconductor technologies and the possibilities of future ones.

The researchers also examined whether the ever-smaller devices that are projected to be available in the next 15 years are physically feasible, and investigated what impact quantum effects might have on performance as devices continue to shrink. The researchers found deviations in the characteristics of devices as they are scaled down, raising questions about future device designs. The researchers also used the Blue Waters supercomputer to study alternative materials, such as indium arsenide and indium antimonide, that could replace silicon in future devices.

From U.S. National Science Foundation
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