Phosphorus transistors may be useful for security applications

Posted on Monday, Dec 14 2020 @ 11:30 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Researchers from Purdue and Notre Dame have investigated the viability of making phosphorus-based transistors. One of the interesting features here is that unlike silicon transistors, phosphorus allows the creation of reconfigurable transistors that are not committed to a particular function.

Hardware based on this could be reconfigured on the fly to perform completely different operations, something that could be useful for security, as it makes it very complicated for hacker to figure out how security features are implemented.
The solution to this, the authors argue, is to create transistors that aren't committed to a particular function. And it's not possible to do that with silicon. But it turns out that atomically thin materials, which have been studied for other reasons, aren't inherently p- or n-type semiconductors. Their behavior is set by their environment, as they'll carry a positive or negative charge depending on what's injected into the material from the metal conductors that wire up the transistor. So, the researchers decided to test whether they could actually build a reconfigurable transistor.
In their paper, the researchers describe the capabilities of black phosphorus. They also built a a bit of logic that could dynamically switch from NAND to NOR function. Actual hardware is of course still far from being production-ready. Full details at ARS Technica.

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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