Transistors are pretty much part of our daily lives. We may not understand them, and many of us might not even recognize one when they see it, but there are everywhere around us, hidden in the many electronic devices and gadgets we use daily. The current problem that plagues them though is that we have really reached the limit of these devices and their capability in existing form. Phenomenon like power leakage makes them less efficient and more energy consuming than necessary. It also produces excess heat in circuits that reduces the devices overall usability. But quantum tunneling is offering new solution to this problem.
Tunneling Field Effect Transistors (TFETs) could take a giant step forward in terms of efficiency and usability according to the latest developments reported by researchers from University of Notre Dame and Pennsylvania State University. While in ordinary semiconductors the electrons have to clear a certain energy barrier before they can move and flow freely, in case of quantum tunneling, electron can go right through the semiconductor without having to achieve this threshold. It is pretty much like the name suggests. They can just ‘tunnel’ through the barriers with ease.
By controlling this phenomenon one can create transistors that are a lot more energy efficient and will not heat up and waste energy due to power leaks. This opens the gates to synthesis of smaller gadgets that cut down on energy usage further. Even health monitoring instruments and implantable devices that can run on their own power are now possible thanks to TFET breakthroughs. The team itself is working on various semiconductor materials that allow quantum tunneling phenomenon and is analyzing the best possible way to improve TFETs and their efficiency.