RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A material from a rare earth element, tellurium, could produce the world’s smallest transistor, thanks to an Army-funded project.
Computer chips use billions of tiny switches called transistors to process information. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the computer.
A project at Purdue University in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Texas at Dallas, found that the material, shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, could build a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale.