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posted by takyon on Sunday December 02 2018, @11:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-dead-yet dept.

New Metal-Air Transistor Replaces Semiconductors

[Researchers] at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, believe a metal-based field emission air channel transistor (ACT) they have developed could maintain transistor doubling for another two decades.

The team has developed a functional proof of concept and is currently working to improve stability and efficiency.

"Unlike conventional transistors that have to sit in silicon bulk, our device is a bottom-to-top fabrication approach starting with a substrate. This enables us to build fully 3D transistor networks, if we can define optimum air gaps," says Shruti Nirantar, lead author of a paper on the new transistor published this month in Nano Letters [DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02849] [DX]. "This means we can stop pursuing miniaturization, and instead focus on compact 3D architecture, allowing more transistors per unit volume."

[...] Looking further ahead, she points out that the theoretical speed of an ACT is in the terahertz range, some 10 thousand times as fast as the speed at which current semiconductor devices work.

The approach also has a number of compelling advantages over traditional silicon semiconductors including far fewer processing steps, simpler fabrication on any dielectric surface, and better resistance to radiation.

Narantir concludes:

"With [industry] help and sufficient research funding, there is the potential to develop commercial-grade field emission air-channel transistors within the next decade—and that's a generous timeline. With the right partners, this could happen more quickly."


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday December 02 2018, @11:54PM (18 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday December 02 2018, @11:54PM (#768997) Journal

    Potential multi-THz clock speeds, layers, and even better radiation resistance for use in space.

    Even if the clock speeds disappoint, you could see hundreds of times of improvement on a single die. Multi-threaded performance anyway.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by exaeta on Monday December 03 2018, @12:13AM

      by exaeta (6957) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:13AM (#769001) Homepage Journal

      Single core performance should alao skyrocket as we can have much much much more complex instructions like this. Just 100 layers would give opportunity to do much better branching and etc.

      We'll have to see how this works out.

      --
      The Government is a Bird
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by driverless on Monday December 03 2018, @12:22AM (12 children)

      by driverless (4770) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:22AM (#769004)

      [Researchers] at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, believe a metal-based field emission air channel transistor (ACT) they have developed could maintain transistor doubling for another two decades.

      And even if this doesn't work out, they can go to Australian politicians and get them to legislate that Moore's Law will continue. Since we know that the Australian government's laws trump the laws of mathematics and physics, it should be a relatively straightforward matter to pass the required legislation and give Australia a massive leg-up over the rest of the world in semiconductor technology. Advance Australia high-tech!

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by c0lo on Monday December 03 2018, @12:51AM (10 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:51AM (#769012) Journal

        Since we know that the Australian government's laws trump the laws of mathematics and physics...

        As yet, the Aussie politicians have made no claim their laws trump the law of physics, only the math's ones.
        But we are close(-ish) to an election, so time is not lost.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday December 03 2018, @12:58AM (8 children)

          by driverless (4770) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:58AM (#769015)

          Since we know that the Australian government's laws trump the laws of mathematics and physics...

          As yet, the Aussie politicians have made no claim their laws trump the law of physics, only the math's ones.
          But we are close(-ish) to an election, so time is not lost.

          Maths, physics, it's practically the same thing, and as you point out there's an election coming up, imagine what a vote-winner this would be for, say, the National Party if they could announce this as policy.

          • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday December 03 2018, @01:14AM (7 children)

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday December 03 2018, @01:14AM (#769020)

            I would have thought that anyone likely to vote for Australia's National Party would not understand any policy that included the word "physics".

            Although to be fair I could see it working if Michael McCormack claimed to able to see the future.

            • (Score: 2) by gawdonblue on Monday December 03 2018, @02:18AM (6 children)

              by gawdonblue (412) on Monday December 03 2018, @02:18AM (#769033)

              I think he can see the future, and it is Barnaby shaped.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday December 03 2018, @02:44AM (5 children)

                by c0lo (156) on Monday December 03 2018, @02:44AM (#769037) Journal

                Yeah, naaah... that future has minuscule chances at the vote booths. If it does happen, it won't last long.

                At the best, Beetrooter [dailyexaminer.com.au] may try to pose as leader to those extreme right Nationals expelled lately but I'm afraid the seat is taken by the "Go fuck yourself @corybernardi" [twitter.com] (context [sbs.com.au])

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 2) by gawdonblue on Monday December 03 2018, @07:42AM (4 children)

                  by gawdonblue (412) on Monday December 03 2018, @07:42AM (#769097)

                  Completely off-topic, but the Go-F-Yourself Australia Day story you linked reminds me of my own political movement to get Australia Day moved to the first Monday in August. When I first mention this to people most of them think it has something to with moving it away from "Invasion Day" but it's not. My reasons are first and foremost, that while there are plenty of holidays around Chrismas/New Year/Easter/ANZAC Day there is a 4-month gap between the Queens Birthday and Labour Day weekends so we should put a holiday in the middle of those. I reckon it's bloody Un-Australian not to have at least one public holiday every 2 months and I don't think we'll get governments to agree to another one so we'll have to move an existing one.

                  Secondly and just a bit perverse, there is already a Banking Holiday on the first Monday in August so moving Australia Day on top of it might be a bit of an FU to the bankers (I'm lobbying Kenneth Hayne to get on board :)

                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday December 03 2018, @12:08PM

                    by c0lo (156) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:08PM (#769125) Journal

                    I reckon it's bloody Un-Australian not to have at least one public holiday every 2 months...

                    Mate, just think about it! I fully agree with the need of another public holiday, just not Australia Day in Jul/Aug.

                    Because either ... (it hurts, but I'm gonna say it)... you need to seriously modify the definition of "lamb" to fit what you can find in July-August** or spend Australia Day without lamb ('cause no farmer in his sane mind will sacrifice 1-2 mo lambs). I can't tell you which of the two I find more distasteful, but both of them are Un-Australian to my mind.
                    You know it makes sense! (also, another go eff yourself, @CoryBernardi [abc.net.au] from MLA)

                    ** hogget or older. See true Aussie lamb product guide [trueaussiebeefandlamb.com.au] page 13.

                    --
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday December 03 2018, @06:48PM (2 children)

                    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday December 03 2018, @06:48PM (#769239)

                    To be fair, if you're a Victorian you get a day off for some horse race and the Football Grand Final, you lucky bastards.

                    I've been campaigning over here in NZ for the Grand Final holiday too, with not much success yet.

                    • (Score: 2) by gawdonblue on Monday December 03 2018, @08:42PM (1 child)

                      by gawdonblue (412) on Monday December 03 2018, @08:42PM (#769280)

                      I've been campaigning over here in NZ for the Grand Final holiday too, with not much success yet.

                      Best of luck with your endeavours, but I doubt that there are anywhere near enough NZers who are into AFL.

                      Go the Tigers!

                      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday December 03 2018, @09:17PM

                        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday December 03 2018, @09:17PM (#769291)

                        St. Kilda promised 10,000 New Zealand members a few years ago, then did exactly nothing.

                        I follow Hawthorn but would have bought a St. Kilda membership if they played some games over here.

                        The problem is that Auckland doesn't have a cricket stadium, and when St. Kilda played a couple of games in Wellington they made no effort at all to get the locals on board which meant interest dropped off really quickly.

                        If we ever get the cricket stadium we're being promised here in Auckland we might get a couple of games and I will be there with bells on. Your weird football is the most wonderful game ever, thanks.

        • (Score: 2) by RandomFactor on Monday December 03 2018, @01:36AM

          by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 03 2018, @01:36AM (#769026) Journal

          The state of Indiana came close to legislating that PI = 3.2, which would have been interesting. Had it not been for a visiting math professor when it was considered it might have happened to...
          .
          Also the Supreme Court of the US made tomatoes a vegetable over a hundred years ago. This is actually the true source of strife between the US and the EU, which declared tomatoes a fruit in 2001.

          --
          В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @03:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @03:13AM (#769050)

        Why would the Australians care anything about some movie director from Michigan?

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday December 03 2018, @12:47AM (3 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:47AM (#769009) Journal

      Potential multi-THz clock speeds, layers, ...

      Oh boy!

      Terahertz radiation [wikipedia.org]: "...also known as submillimeter radiation". It will be a nightmare to optimize the MB traces - Cray [wikipedia.org] shows it's not impossible, but not necessary cheap.

      Clocks? You need something stable and with enough power for all components on the MB (to quash parasitic oscillations and drive everything in forced oscillation mode) - not impossible but not quite an easy thing to do with the current solid-state devices [wikipedia.org].

      One on top of the other, it will be some time until the tech makes it into mobile phones.

      Even if the clock speeds disappoint...

      I don't get it. Are you trying to say you'll be disappointed of a TeraHz CPU clock-frequency?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Monday December 03 2018, @12:28AM (1 child)

    by Mykl (1112) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:28AM (#769005)

    But I'm not knowledgeable enough in this field to know if it's actually achievable.

    Are there any SN readers out there able to verify whether this is a real breakthrough in chip manufacture, or snake oil?

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @12:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @12:57AM (#769014)

      Yes.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Monday December 03 2018, @12:34AM (3 children)

    by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 03 2018, @12:34AM (#769006)

    So many commentators treat Moore's Law as an ironclad fact. It isn't. It never was: Moore himself just observed that this seemed to be a trend, but he never treated it as something he expected to continue forever.

    I'm all for faster chips, but let's not frame the discussion based on an offhand observation.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @01:00AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @01:00AM (#769016)

      Manning's Law predicts that the number of millennial genders will double every 18 months.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Monday December 03 2018, @01:17AM (1 child)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday December 03 2018, @01:17AM (#769021)

        ...the number of millennial genders...

        And grumpy old conservative A/C's will masturbate furiously over the thought.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @03:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03 2018, @03:18AM (#769051)

          Yeah, and that's a bad thing? I mean, masturbation is supposed to be good for the prostate. Keep those juices flowing, baby!

  • (Score: 2) by suburbanitemediocrity on Monday December 03 2018, @12:50AM (3 children)

    by suburbanitemediocrity (6844) on Monday December 03 2018, @12:50AM (#769011)

    will rise again!

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