TI, Swiss institute envision hybrid chip

Dec. 10, 2003 — Texas Instruments Inc. is working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne on a chip combining standard semiconductor and single-electron transistors (SET) that could shrink the size and power consumption of computing devices, according to a news release.

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The researchers, who are presenting a paper and simulations this week at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, say the hybrid could perform logic functions at a much smaller scale than CMOS-based chips alone. Researchers said the method also overcomes obstacles related to random background charges that have hampered SET research.

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The approach is one of several alternative state devices under development that in 10-15 years could replace Field Effect Transistors, which use large number of electrons in operation. The TI and Swiss researchers tout their approach because the “charged electron” concept provided the basis for modern computing, the release said.

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The next challenge would be reliably manufacturing the devices in a CMOS-compatible process. If those efforts are successful, such devices initially could be used for memory and metrology, including thermometers and electrometers.

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