The hunt for a more efficient transistor may have just gotten a boost from engineers who say they have created a transistor that could enable cheaper, faster transistors in wireless devices.
New transistor could improve efficiency and speed in wireless devices
Researchers at the University of Deleware (UD) say they have created a new transistor that might reduce the cost and increase the speeds of wireless devices.
According to a new study in Applied Physics Express, the UD researchers have created a high-electron-mobility transistor that can amplify and direct electric current using gallium nitride and an indium aluminum-nitride barrier on a silicon substrate.
What makes their transistor so impressive is its record-setting properties. It has record-low gate leakage, highest on-off current ratio, and the highest recorded current gain cutoff frequency, which is an indicator of how much data can be transmitted using a large variety of frequencies.
All of this makes the new transistor especially useful for mobile devices that rely on wireless communications systems. For any given current, the new transistor would be capable of handling more voltage while requiring less battery life than current transistors.
"We are making this high-speed transistor because we want to expand the bandwidth of wireless communications, and this will give us more information for a certain limited time," said Yuping Zeng, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UD. "It can also be used for space applications because the gallium nitride transistor we used is radiation robust, and it is also wide bandgap material, so it can tolerate a lot of power."
Zeng added that: "this process can also be compatible with silicon Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology, which is the conventional technology used for semiconductors."
Dennis Prather, Engineering Alumni Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a co-author of the paper, feels that the new transistor is right on time for the next major revolution in communications technology: 5G networks.
"With the era of 5G upon us, it's very exciting to see Professor Zeng's record-setting transistors as a leading contribution to this field," he said. "Her research is world-renowned and the ECE Department is very lucky to have her on its faculty. To this end, 5G is ushering in a wave of new technologies in nearly every aspect of mobile communications and wireless networks, to have UD's ECE department at the leading edge, with Professor Zeng's outstanding research, is truly a wonderful thing."