"Today's integrated circuits are limited by power dissipation," Seabaugh said. "Anyone with a laptop, feels the power dissipation as heat. In our data centers, this heat requires an extensive and costly cooling system which drains power from the grid. Heat now prevents us from packing more transistors onto a computer chip. The mission of LEAST is to discover devices which will run cooler and pack tighter. This will change the rules currently limiting how many transistors we can put on a chip and how fast we can operate them."
The LEAST research team will consist of 26 researchers from Notre Dame and nine other universities: Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Penn State, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UT Austin and UT Dallas.
LEAST will build on research developed by the Notre Dame-led Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND), a consortium designed to discover and develop the next nanoscale logic device, the basic building block of future computer technology. MIND was established in 2008 and was one of four centers supported by the Semiconductor Research Corporation's Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI).
"One clear way to dissipate less energy in a transistor is to lower the voltage," Seabaugh said. "This has been a research focus of MIND. MIND researchers have led the development of field-effect tunneling transistors, low-voltage devices which have now entered industrial research and development labs world-wide. This is a significant success story for the NRI. The tunnel transistor now enters a competitive development phase which will be fought out in the semiconductor industry."
LEAST will now look to new material systems and new switching phenomena which can offer even lower voltage operation.
"Universities are now asked to look beyond the tunnel transistor," Seabaugh said. "Are there ways to construct transistors at even sma
|Contact: Alan Seabaugh|
University of Notre Dame