Material such as DNA can provide smaller transistors, Computer chips use billions of tiny switches called transistors to process information.

The more transistors on the chip, the faster the computer.

A material in the form of a one-dimensional DNA helix can further push the transistor size limit. The material comes from a rare earth element called tellurium.

The researchers found that the boron nitride material encapsulated in nanotubes contributed to the construction of a transistor field effect with a diameter of two nanometers. Material such as DNA can provide smaller transistors.

Transistors on the market are made of solid silicon and vary in scale between 10 and 20 nanometers.

In recent years, transistors measuring just a few nanometers have been built in a laboratory environment. The aim is to make transistors the size of atoms.

Peide Ye Lab at Purdue is one of many research groups who want to use materials that are much thinner than silicon to achieve smaller and more efficient transistors. Tellurium material is very unique. It builds functional transistors with the potential to be the smallest in the world, the researchers said. Material such as DNA can provide smaller transistors.

In 2018, the same Purdue research team discovered tellurium, a two-dimensional tellurium material. They found that transistors made of this material can carry more electric current, making it more efficient.

The discovery made him curious about what the other Transistor Tellur could do.

The ability of elements to take the form of ultra-thin material in one dimension can help reduce transistors even further.

The general method for shrinking field effect transistors in most electronic devices is to build gates that surround thinner nanowires. These nanowires are protected in nanotubes.

Jing-Kai Qin and Pai-Ying Liao, PhD students in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue, discovered how to make small tellurium with only one atomic chain and then build transistors with circular atoms or ultra-thin nanowires.

They began to grow a one-dimensional tellurium chain. For comparison, the Wenzhuo Wu laboratory in Purdue synthesizes empty tellurium nanowires.

The researchers were surprised to find that the atoms in this one-dimensional chain vibrated.

The rotating atoms are closely linked to form helical chains like DNA and are then regulated by weak forces, called Van der Waal interactions, to form tellurium crystals. This van der Waal interaction will separate tellurium as a more efficient material for chains of single atom or one-dimensional nanowires than others because it is easier to insert into nanotubes, Researcher said.

Because the opening of the nanotube must not be smaller than the size of an atom, helium tellurium atoms can reach smaller nanowires and thus smaller transistors.

The researchers built tellurium nano-orange transistors in boron nitride nanotubes.

High-quality boron nitride nanotubes effectively isolate tellurium and enable the construction of transistors. The Xianfan Xu Laboratory at Purdue characterizes material properties using Raman spectroscopy to assess its effectiveness.

The study reveals more about promising materials that can make calculations faster with this small transistor with very low power consumption, the researchers said. The U.S. Army Research Office program director, who funded this work. This technology certainly has important applications for the military.