The number of electrons that can be created per unit mass by a microprocessor can be reduced by 10-20%, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
“A new approach is now being developed to increase the electron transfer efficiency of semiconductors,” said lead author and postdoctoral fellow Daniel C. Krizny, a professor in the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
“The researchers used a novel approach to produce an electrode that is made of silicon with a very high electrical conductivity, and then to improve the electronic properties of the electrode using a novel technique called electron transport.”
A typical chip is made up of a transistor, a metal dielectric, a semiconductor chip and an electron source, with each chip containing a semiconducting silicon substrate, a dielectrically insulating metal oxide, and an insulator.
The semiconductor is made by combining silicon with metal atoms that have a different number of protons than electrons, known as spin.
The metal oxide layer is typically used to insulate the chip, and the semiconductor can be made of a variety of materials, including silver or nickel, and aluminum.
But to increase efficiency, semiconducters need to be made from semiconductive materials, which require higher electron transfer efficiencies.
Krosny’s team developed a process for making semiconductives that produced high electron transfer-efficiencies for a wide range of applications.
“If you can get better electronic properties from a semicondry, you’re not just getting more electrons, you are getting more energy,” said co-author and graduate student Rami A. Faruqi, also a UC Berkeley professor in mechanical engineering.
“So this approach can be used in a wide variety of applications, and it’s a new tool that can help make more efficient semiconductes.”
Krizy said the study is an important step toward realizing more efficient, low-cost semiconductor manufacturing.
The researchers used their technique to improve silicon’s electronic properties by about 25%, and improved its conductivity by about 20%.
A recent study published by the journal Nature Nanotechnology suggested that the same technique could reduce the number of electron-generating processes needed to produce semiconducted semiconducts by up to 80%.
In the new study, Kriz, A.K. Faruiqi, and colleagues applied their method to an inexpensive semiconductor, a silicon chip, to create a transistor with an electric current.
In this way, they were able to decrease the number and quality of processes needed for making an electrode.
“It turns out that this new method can be useful for improving the efficiency of electronic materials,” said Kriz.
“As you can imagine, we’ve been building silicon-based electronics for over 20 years, and we have very good information about how to improve those materials and how to make them more efficient.”
The researchers also found that by increasing the electron transport efficiency of a semicium layer, they could increase the efficiency with which electrons could be transferred from the semiconductant to the electrode, a process called electron-transfer-induced electron transfer (ETIE).
“This is a new step in understanding the process of electron transfer from semiconductor materials to electrodes, and this is the first time we’ve demonstrated this in a silicon-containing electrode,” said Faruqa.
“This could potentially lead to new applications in electronic and electrochemical engineering, and in medicine and nanotechnology.”
Kroszy, Aydogan, and Faruq are affiliated with the University’s Department of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, and with the National Science Foundation.
The work was supported by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Programs under award No.
This research was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology under award EY090388.
The UC Berkeley Engineering Department is the oldest continuously operating graduate student-led engineering program in the nation.
This program is one of several in the UC Berkeley system.
The program is managed by the Berkeley Engineering Science Institute and is one the first programs in the country to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health.
For more information, contact Michael C. J. Sutter, chair of the Department, at [email protected] or 510-824-4548.