Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Merger of Laser & Transistor Could Improve Computer Speed, Battery Life

This photograph shows a 50th anniversary (1997) replica of the first transistor invented at Bell Labs on 1947 December 23. Now, lasers could greatly improve the speed and further reduce the size of transistors. (Image Sources: Wikipedia.org, By Federal employee - https://clintonwhitehouse4.archives.gov/Initiatives/Millennium/capsule/mayo.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=554340)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

The transistor, the workhorse of the electronics and space ages, may be ready for a technological upgrade, which could greatly improve computers and portable telephones. According to Purdue University Assistant Professor Tillmann Kubis, the combination of quantum cascade laser and transistor technologies could help manufacturers make even faster, more efficient, and smaller transistors.

One of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, the transistor is a key active component in nearly all modern electronics. Without the much reduced size and weight of transistors, it would have been much more difficult (perhaps not even possible) to, literally, launch payloads, including humans, into Outer Space.

Circuits in a wide variety of electronic and digital devices use transistors as electronic switches: “on” or “off” state – a binary computer system's “ones” and “zeros” determined by the flow of electrical current or the lack of flow of electrical current (actually, a lesser electrical current due to a lower voltage). The quantum cascade laser technology will be able to offer better switching behavior for computers and other digital devices, compared to traditional transistors.

Smaller transistors, that operate at lower power and lower temperatures, are the major advantages of the new technology. The new technology becomes more sensitive to a switching operation. Quantum cascade lasers can reduce the system noise, from the heating-up by electronics, to more easily detect the difference between the “ones” and “zeros” of such switches.

The quantum cascade laser allows electrons to cascade to eventually become photons. The photons become the laser switch, which then operates at the same time as a conventional transistor switch, to better complete the operation.

“Our technology is unique because it merges lasers and transistors,” said Tillmann Kubis, research assistant professor in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Network for Computational Nanotechnology, and the Purdue Center for Predictive Materials and Devices. Professor Kubis added, “There is traditionally not a lot of overlap between these two areas, even though the combination can be powerful with the Internet-of-Things and other related fields.”

Professor Kubis says that the discovery of the usefulness of the combination of quantum cascade laser technology with conventional transistor technology occurred by accident at the beginning of the year. He said this accidental discovery happened during his lab's work and modeling of transistors in-general.

The Purdue University researchers also consider this type of new transistor as a promising candidate for next-generation nano-devices. Professor Kubis says that this discovery is an advance for other nano-transistor technologies being developed.

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Laser: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser

Quantum Cascade Laser: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_cascade_laser

Transistor: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor

Purdue University News Release - "Transistor technology may improve speed, battery life for computers, mobile phones and other electronics."
Link >>> https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q3/transistor-technology-may-improve-speed,-battery-life-for-computers,-mobile-phones-and-other-electronics.html

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              Tuesday, 2018 November 13.

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Glenn A. Walsh --- < http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/gaw/ >
Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/fotz/ >
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

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