New material design for transistors could downsize next-gen tech

An atomic-scale rendering of the Mott insulator (green) and underlying material (blue) that proved key to refining and stabilizing the performance of a potentially smaller transistor. Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

By better taming the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of an alternative to the semiconductor—one that transitions from electricity-resisting insulator to current-conducting metal—Nebraska’s Xia Hong and colleagues may have unlocked a new path to smaller, more efficient digital devices. The team reports its findings in the journal Nature Communications.

The semiconductor’s ability to conduct electricity in the Goldilocks zone—poorer than a metal, better than an insulator—positioned it as the …

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