The smallest transistor in the world is conceived thanks to a rare earth mineral

The smallest transistor in the world is conceived thanks to a rare earth mineral

Thanks to a project funded by the United States Army, researchers at Purdue University in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Texas in Dallas, the smallest transistor has been conceived of the world .

This has been possible thanks to a rare earth mineral, tellurium , discovered in Transylvania at the time (and which makes our body smell like garlic for many days)


The miniaturization of transistors is important because they are like switches on the chips of a computer and serve to process information: the more transistors there are on a chip, the faster the computer .

The material, shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, could act as a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers.

The transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and have a scale of between 10 and 20 nanometers . But this concept makes it possible to make tellurium as small as a single atomic chain and then build transistors out of these ultra-thin atomic chains or nanowires. Because the opening of a nanotube cannot be smaller than the size of an atom, the tellurium helices of atoms could reach smaller nanowires and therefore smaller transistors.

As Joe Qiu , program manager for the Army Research Office, which funded this work, published in Nature Electronics, explains:

This research reveals more about a promising material that could achieve faster computing with very low power consumption using these small transistors. That technology would have important applications for the Army.