Quantum Tunneling Field-Effect Transistors Save 99% of Computer Energy Savings

According to a report recently organized by the American Physicists Organization Network, Swiss scientists said that by 2017, tunnel FETs developed using quantum tunneling technology are expected to reduce the energy consumption of computers and mobile phones to the current 1%. Adrian Ionescu, a scientist at the University of Applied Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland, made this point in an article written for the British magazine Nature, which is part of Nature’s special report on silicon.

Ionescu pointed out that at present, scientists from the Institutes of Science and Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IBM Lab in Switzerland, and the Institute of Electronics and Information Technology under the French Atomic Energy Commission are conducting research relating to tunneling field effect transistors.

Today's computers contain an infinite number of transistors. There are no more than 1 billion transistors in the CPU. These small transistors provide binary instructions with 0 and 1 through opening and closing, allowing us to send emails, watch videos, and move. Mouse and so on. Today's transistors use a technology called the “field effect”—through this effect, voltage induces an electron tunnel to activate the transistor. However, field-effect technology is slowly reaching its limits, especially in terms of reducing energy consumption. Space.

However, the tunnel FET technology is based on a very different principle. In a tunnel field effect transistor, two small slots are separated by an energy barrier. In the first slot, a large group of electrons are waiting quietly and the transistor is not activated. When a voltage is applied, the electrons will pass through the energy barrier and move into the second slot while activating the transistor.

According to quantum theory, some electrons can do this even if they obviously lack enough energy to cross the energy barrier. This is the quantum tunnel effect. By reducing the amplitude of the energy barrier, it becomes possible to enhance and use the quantum effect. Therefore, the energy required for the electrons to pass through the barrier is greatly reduced, and the power consumption of the transistor is thus significantly reduced.

Ionescu explained: “By replacing the field effect of traditional field-effect transistors with tunneling, we can reduce the voltage applied to the transistors from 1 volt to 0.2 volt. From a practical point of view, voltage reduction can consume energy. Reducing to the previous one percent, a new generation of microprocessor chips will integrate traditional field-effect technology and tunneling field effect transistor technology.The models developed by IBM and the French Institute of Electronics and Information Technology have now entered the early stages of industrial production. We have reason to believe that by 2017, tunnel FETs will enter the large-scale manufacturing stage."

Ionescu believes that tunnel FET technology is undoubtedly a huge technological advance in the field of microprocessors. He said: "We are working on a research project to find ways to reduce processor power consumption. Tunnel field effect transistors are expected to help us achieve this goal. Ultimately we must design ultra-compact, zero-energy personal electronic assistants."