Nothing takes the excitement out of a new gadget like having to charge it multiple times a day. As consumer electronics manufacturers search for ways to ease the drain on device batteries, a new article published in IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices details a new method that will help lead to a new generation of energy efficient transistors. By incorporating quantum physics in simulation tools commonly used to design these transistors, the team is hoping to foster the creation of devices which use less energy and require less frequent charging.
Optimizing the Tunnel Field Effect Transistor (TFET) is a top goal for many researchers because it could be the key to limiting power consumption in electronic devices. TFET could be employed in the future for very low-powered applications, like tablets or smartphones, where the less energy one consumes, the longer the battery lives. In 2014, the researchers published an article that describes the optimization of a dual metal gate (DMG)-TFET through Technology Computer Aided Design (TCAD). However – they encountered a serious problem when they realized the standard TCAD approach wasn’t taking any advanced quantum physics into account. Without quantum physics, the results are too optimistic and a prototype may not work.
In a second article, though, they developed a new simulation approach that included the most essential quantum physics directly into the TCAD tool, without having to use rigorous but extremely time-consuming quantum-mechanical simulators. By doing so, the researchers re-optimized the DMG-TFET device through improved TCAD simulations accounting for bandgap widening, a quantum mechanical effect that strongly influences the tunneling current in thin transistors. They demonstrated that including this quantum mechanical effect in simulations leads to more accurate results.
Our research brings quantum physics directly to the more user-friendly TCAD scheme, which we believe will expedite progress toward more-efficient transistor design.
In order to validate this new modeling approach, the electric current in fabricated DMG-TFETs must be measured to see whether the assumptions made in the development of this new method are correct.
“Quantum effects in electron devices are becoming more important because of the technology-driven miniaturization of electron devices,” said Giovanni Betti Beneventi, Principle Investigator. “However, industry still relies on TCAD due to time savings and flexibility. Our research brings quantum physics directly to the more user-friendly TCAD scheme, which we believe will expedite progress toward more-efficient transistor design.”
Using these TFET transistors in future electronics could result in more convenient, longer-lasting smartphones and tablets, as well as some serious energy savings as we work to become a more energy-efficient world—not to mention a little more freedom from the hassle of plugging in.
You can also find more articles about “TFET” in IEEE Xplore.