Scientists at SUNY-Polytech Institute in Albany, New York have created a device that combines multiple semiconductor functions into a single workable device, according to Phys.org. This device would not only improve functionality, it would dramatically cut down on fabrication complexity. This would offer a viable alternative to being forced to scale down the dimensions of a device in order to keep functionality at optimum levels.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it lines up to work around Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. This could prove an obvious problem as our technological demands increase; after all, there’s a limit to the number of transistors a computer chip can hold. This device serves to handle this concern. By combining the devices into a single piece of equipment, researchers don’t have to worry about the number of transistors or the size of the computer chip.
The reconfigurable device is capable of transforming into three basic semiconductor tools, all of which are fully functional. These include a p-n diode that functions as a rectifier, a bipolar junction transistor, and a MOSFET for switching. The device was made with 2D tungsten diselenide. This transition metal was recently discovered, and scientists are still working out its many varied applications.
Because the device has multiple functions, scientists used a new doping technique. This technique allowed all three functionalities to work perfectly by realizing the inherent properties in the materials being used (namely the new transition material).
“We are able to demonstrate the three most important semiconductor devices (p-n diode, MOSFET, and BJT) using a single reconfigurable device. While these devices can be fabricated individually in modern semiconductor fabrication facilities, often requiring complex integration schemes if they are to be combined, we can form a single device that can perform the functions of all three devices.”
The scientists are hoping that this device will lead to further multifunctional tools capable of bypassing Moore’s Law. They are currently investigating the applicability and scalability of various devices, hoping to achieve similar results with fewer device elements. This could prove a huge step forward for semiconductor technology.