CNET reports the European Union is sponsoring a multimillion-dollar research called Project Steeper, an effort that promises to significantly increase energy efficiency of gadgets and slash so-called vampire power by pursuing new transistor materials:
The three-year effort, called Project Steeper, promises to result in gadgets that operate 10 times longer on a battery charge and don't lose energy to standby--or vampire--power, researchers say. Although there are many different ways to improve efficiency in computing, the focus of this work is on the basic building block of all electronics, the transistor.
The EU-sponsored project, like a number of other research efforts like it, aims to create semiconductors that have a more abrupt switch between the on and off state than the metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) design, which has been used since the 1970s, according to IBM. These devices would have a steep slope between on/off transitions, which gives the project its name, and would lower the leakage of charge in transistors.