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3D III-V Transistors Could Enable Lighter Notebooks

By - Source: Purdue University | B 20 comments

Just weeks before we are supposed to see the first commercial processors with 3D transistor structures, researchers from Purdue and Harvard announced that they succeeded in the development of a transistor that uses nanowires with indium-gallium-arsenide

The scientists believe that indium-gallium-arsenide could some day replace silicon as it has superior electron flow characteristics. Materials like indium-gallium-arsenide, which are referred to as III-V materials because they combine elements from the third and fifth groups of the periodic table, could make electron flow more efficiently and enable thinner and lighter computing devices in the future.

"Industry and academia are racing to develop transistors from the III-V materials," said Peide Ye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue. "Here, we have made the world's first 3-D gate-all-around transistor on much higher-mobility material than silicon, the indium-gallium-arsenide." Details of the invention are currently shown at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C.

"Once you shrink gate lengths down to 22 nanometers on silicon you have to do more complicated structure design," Ye said. "The ideal gate is a neck-like, gate-all-around structure so that the gate surrounds the transistor on all sides."

He believes that 14 nm chip designs are still possible with silicon, but any further shrinks are likely to require a new material. "Nanowires made of III-V alloys will get us to the 10 nanometer range," he said.

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  • 14 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , December 8, 2011 7:09 AM
    Quote:
    "Once you shrink gate lengths down to 22 nanometers on silicon you have to do more complicated structure design," Ye said.


    Smaller that 14 nm using silicon? YE SHALL NOT PASS!
  • 12 Hide
    stingstang , December 8, 2011 9:18 AM
    Oh thank GOD we may have a new way to make laptops more portable! I was beginning to think we were never going to find the answer to this ever-elusive answer...
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , December 8, 2011 7:09 AM
    Quote:
    "Once you shrink gate lengths down to 22 nanometers on silicon you have to do more complicated structure design," Ye said.


    Smaller that 14 nm using silicon? YE SHALL NOT PASS!
  • 3 Hide
    shreeharsha , December 8, 2011 8:40 AM
    Silicon was found everywhere, but now China will have even more power with rare materials found there
  • 12 Hide
    stingstang , December 8, 2011 9:18 AM
    Oh thank GOD we may have a new way to make laptops more portable! I was beginning to think we were never going to find the answer to this ever-elusive answer...
  • 2 Hide
    nottheking , December 8, 2011 10:23 AM
    shreeharshaSilicon was found everywhere, but now China will have even more power with rare materials found there

    Fortunately, microprocessors and other semiconductor manufacturing doesn't make use of rare earth Lanthanides; rather, metalloids and post-transition "poor metals" are what are used. (silicon and arsenic are metaloids, while indium and gallium (along with aluminum) are "poor metals." However, other parts still require rare earth metals, such as HDDs. On the bright side, SSDs do not.
  • 6 Hide
    ojas , December 8, 2011 11:03 AM
    Interesting, seeing that intel's already planned their 10nm procs for 2016...i wonder what they're planning to use? If tri-gate is anything to go by, they already have their theory in place (they started developing/planning tri-gate in the 90s).

    But, good thing they're developing usable GaAs semiconductors finally...
  • -5 Hide
    xx_pemdas_xx , December 8, 2011 12:15 PM
    By the time this technology becomes usable, 8 threaded applications might be around. Thus making the bulldozer worth it (even though money wise it already is).
  • 1 Hide
    willard , December 8, 2011 12:44 PM
    shreeharshaSilicon was found everywhere, but now China will have even more power with rare materials found there

    Off topic, but China kind of screwed itself out of the market with rare earths. When they decided to stop shipping them to drive up prices, we started looking for other supplies. Turns out the shit collects on the sea floor near volcanic vents after being carried up from the Earth's mantle, and there's a deposit in international waters that has more of the stuff in a square kilometer than all known deposits worldwide combined, including China's.

    Within a the next several years, expect the prices on rare earth minerals to crash when seafloor mining ramps up.
  • 0 Hide
    mcd023 , December 8, 2011 1:16 PM
    since the cpu is one of the lightest components, how will that make it lighter? maybe more portable by using less energy?
  • 0 Hide
    ksampanna , December 8, 2011 1:42 PM
    mcd023since the cpu is one of the lightest components, how will that make it lighter? maybe more portable by using less energy?


    CPUs become smaller, meaning cores fit into a smaller space, leaving the rest for a possible SoC (System on Chip), meaning ROM/RAM, cache, gpus, chipset, etc are all on the same silicon, negating the need for them to be discreet, thus saving actual physical weight. Also lesser power demands mean smaller batteries needed.
  • 0 Hide
    Kamab , December 8, 2011 2:12 PM
    ksampannaCPUs become smaller, meaning cores fit into a smaller space, leaving the rest for a possible SoC (System on Chip), meaning ROM/RAM, cache, gpus, chipset, etc are all on the same silicon, negating the need for them to be discreet, thus saving actual physical weight. Also lesser power demands mean smaller batteries needed.


    Transistors are used in more than just CPUs, and I think all of this leads to smaller processes (14-10nm), smaller PCBs, smaller chips. Plus all the stuff this guy just said.
  • 2 Hide
    spookyman , December 8, 2011 3:09 PM
    stingstangOh thank GOD we may have a new way to make laptops more portable! I was beginning to think we were never going to find the answer to this ever-elusive answer...


    Add in you can recycle old IT equipment for the rare metals inside them.
  • 0 Hide
    Max Collodi , December 8, 2011 3:29 PM
    xX_PEMDAS_XxBy the time this technology becomes usable, 8 threaded applications might be around. Thus making the bulldozer worth it (even though money wise it already is).

    They already are. The applications I use can make use of an unlimited number of threads. Most common consumer apps simply don't need that kind of scaling.
  • -2 Hide
    noblerabbit , December 8, 2011 3:50 PM
    I remember reading 25 PC Magazines ago, that 1GHz was the barrier for Silicon transistors. is this #26?
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , December 8, 2011 3:54 PM
    shreeharshaSilicon was found everywhere, but now China will have even more power with rare materials found there


    correct me if im wrong, but the rare materials you are talking about are rare earth stuff used in magnets correct?

    if thats true, its not rare at all, there just are no large despites of it.

    notthekingFortunately, microprocessors and other semiconductor manufacturing doesn't make use of rare earth Lanthanides; rather, metalloids and post-transition "poor metals" are what are used. (silicon and arsenic are metaloids, while indium and gallium (along with aluminum) are "poor metals." However, other parts still require rare earth metals, such as HDDs. On the bright side, SSDs do not.


    on the bad side, ssds are likely never going to go below .44 cents a gb at 10nm and .09 cents at 5nm if my math is right

    i dont know how big the chips themselves are so i cant get more accurate numbers than makeing my assumptions based off a new and not marked down to move ssd.

    xX_PEMDAS_XxBy the time this technology becomes usable, 8 threaded applications might be around. Thus making the bulldozer worth it (even though money wise it already is).


    only if you disreguard single thread applications is it worth it right now, but thanks to things not moveing to multicore and being commonly used, we get crappy looking benchmarks...

    i have a question that i want to ask anyone listening. are there any major single threaded games anymore, and is there a place that benchmarks multi threaded games with a bulldozer and i5 and i7?

    im assuming that for older games, even the crappy single thread speed of bulldozer is good enough, but i want to see it in a game that is made for threads, well, any more than 1 thread.

    also if anyone knows, does dx11 in a game automatically make it multi thread or do they still have to code it like for a multi thread system? because if its automatically done, thats at least one reason we all want the wiiu to succeed.
  • 0 Hide
    svdb , December 8, 2011 6:29 PM
    mcd023since the cpu is one of the lightest components, how will that make it lighter? maybe more portable by using less energy?

    By requiring a light heat sink, or none at all.
  • -2 Hide
    intel 4004 , December 8, 2011 11:13 PM
    why they no say this earlier!
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , December 9, 2011 12:52 AM
    willardOff topic, but China kind of screwed itself out of the market with rare earths. When they decided to stop shipping them to drive up prices, we started looking for other supplies. Turns out the shit collects on the sea floor near volcanic vents after being carried up from the Earth's mantle, and there's a deposit in international waters that has more of the stuff in a square kilometer than all known deposits worldwide combined, including China's.Within a the next several years, expect the prices on rare earth minerals to crash when seafloor mining ramps up.

    There's one problem.

    Seafloor mining is not practical and won't be until decades. Especially deep sea mining since I'm assuming the volcanic vents are sitting on the bottom of the deep oceans and that international waters usually include deep oceans.


    On the bright side, US has lots of rare earth minerals. All you have to do is slog through the red tapes and pray that protests won't bring construction of the mining facility to a standstill.
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , December 11, 2011 10:54 AM
    shreeharshaSilicon was found everywhere, but now China will have even more power with rare materials found there

    Oh, well said! China aside, it just doesn't make any sense to keep replacing common materials with rare materials, setting ourselves up for a bigger problem when supplies run out, or even low.

    Heck, we saw this with petroleum, and there is a heck of a lot more known petroleum reserves than indium. (yes, I know that we use indium at a much lower rate, so the comparison is not mathematicaly valid. If I knew the annual consumption rates for petroleum and indium I could do a valid comparison, but that's not my point.)
  • 0 Hide
    v3rlon , February 21, 2012 3:19 AM
    ksampannaCPUs become smaller, meaning cores fit into a smaller space, leaving the rest for a possible SoC (System on Chip), meaning ROM/RAM, cache, gpus, chipset, etc are all on the same silicon, negating the need for them to be discreet, thus saving actual physical weight. Also lesser power demands mean smaller batteries needed.


    More efficient elctron flow means less waste heat. Less waste heat means less power needed AND less cooling required. This in turn can lead to lower battery requirements and thus smaller batteries. So, you get smaller internal parts all through the motherboard, process, gfx, and ram. You need less cooling and less power for the same performance and can get a smaller battery.

    Look at say the ram you put in your laptop. If you could shring that down from two stcks to two CHIPS on one stick half the size, you would already have saved some spance and power draw. I am not saying we implement this today and tomorrow we have a credit card that can play Crysis. The changes are evolutionary more than revolutionary, and it will take some time before you notice something huge.