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IC efficiency and speed when quantization matters

Un-intentional effects of electron wave and charge quantization are causing big problems in current integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing as feature sizes get below 50 nm towards the sub-10nm range. It is now high time to make use of the quantization effects instead of fighting them. The basic CMOS transistors used inside most ICs today are getting more and more efficient but also more weak and process-sensitive as their size is reduced. However when the transistor size and bias voltage is so small that barely a single electronic wave mode can propagate (quantum point contacts) Koswatta et al. (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1011/1011.5241.pdf) recently showed such tunneling behavior can enhance both the energy efficiency and transistor strength (and therefore also process stability and transistor speed) compared to classical transistor models. Good news for both quantum engineers, IC manufacturers and device users!

Fig. 4. Simulated energy-position resolved current spectrum (log scale) of the 1D BG-TFET (EG-eff = -100meV) with dissipative transport (CNT phonon modes) at VDS = 0.4V and; (a) VGS = 0.4V (above-threshold), and (b) VGS = -0.05V (subthreshold). Phonon absorption-assisted tunneling dominates the TFET off-state leakage. Carrier thermalization in the drain by phonon emission is also observed.

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