Motorola develops transistor with multiple independent vertical gates

Posted on Tuesday, November 11 2003 @ 13:41 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Motorola his researchers in its Semiconductor labs in Austin, Texas have built a new kind of transistor that can be made with existing manufacturing processes. It could provide a major boost to make smaller and more powerful chips they claim. They call it the MIGFET (Multiple Independent Gate Field Effect Transistor) because this new transistor allows multiple independent gates. It is engineered to pack more computing power into less space, and to reduce power consumption.

  Multiple Independent Gate Field Effect Transistor
Traditional transistor structures have one gate built in a horizontal plane, or one place to record the on/off, zero/one state, which is the basis for all digital information. The semiconductor industry has been experimenting with vertical, double-gated transistors as a way of getting more computing power in less space.

Thus far, most of these experimental structures have been limited because the two gates are electrically linked. While these structures will offer additional performance improvements over existing planar devices, Motorola has gone beyond forming a single gate on multiple sides of nanometer scale silicon. With this breakthrough, Motorola has electrically isolated the gate structures so each one can be separately controlled with its own voltage. This promises to enable advancements such as:

  • Lower power consumption : Chip designers can turn off the device using both gates or use one gate to dynamically control how much power is consumed, to reduce power consumption.

  • Faster processing speed : Chip designers can use a single transistor to perform complex logic functions currently carried out by many transistors wired together.

  • Smaller circuits : With this vertical structure, chip designers can squeeze more functionality into less space. In addition, two independent gates can form the basis of a circuit.

    “Such successful research results establish the viability of leading-edge device structures,” said Dr. Claudine Simson, chief technology officer, Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector. “The process techniques being introduced are independent of wafer size and process geometry, and have been successfully demonstrated on existing production technologies. Motorola plans to continue to work on refining these advanced devices and incorporate them in a variety of process technologies and product lines.”

  • About the Author

    Thomas De Maesschalck

    Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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