World’s Smallest Transistor Created

Scientists have created the world’s smallest transistor with a working one-nanometre gate.

Instead of using silicon, the researchers built their prototype device with a class of semiconductor materials called transition metal dichalcogenides, or TMDs.

Specifically, experimental device structure used molybdenum disulfide for the channel material and a single-walled carbon nanotube for the gate.

As current flows through a transistor, the stream of electrons travels through a channel, like tap water flowing through a faucet out into a sink.

A “gate” in the transistor controls the flow of electrons, shutting the flow off and on in a fraction of second.

The theoretical lower limit for silicon transistors is about five nanometres. The device we demonstrate in this article has a gate size of one nanometre, about one order of magnitude smaller.

The team was led by US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.