Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) are studying how to make the next generation of transistors smaller.
Germanium is favored to replace silicon because charge carriers move much faster within germanium than in silicon. However, the bigger problem is the oxide layer, because when silicon oxide approaches a thickness of 1 nanometer, electrons start to leak through it, causing excess power consumption and poor reliability.
Transistors that use silicon oxide cannot keep up with consumer demand for sleeker, faster devices. The researchers are investigating oxides with higher dielectric constants, which when combined with germanium could result in a transistor better suited for future electronics. To date, the most promising candidate is titanium oxide, but this material also leaked too much current during testing, regardless of whether the structures contained silicon or germanium.
Ghent University researchers have attempted to solve the problem by adding a thin intermediate layer to the heterojunctions before depositing the titanium oxide layer. NSLS researchers have used the Ghent study as a starting point. "This way, you get the best of both: the good band offset from the interlayer and the high dielectric constant of titanium oxide," says NSLS researcher Abdul Rumaiz.
From Brookhaven National Laboratory
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