UTD Researcher Designs
All-Carbon Transistor

Dr. Joseph Friedman believes carbon transistors will be more effective and smaller in size than the current transistors made of silicon.

transistor

A researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas has proposed a new computing system made only of carbon. 

Published in the June 5 Nature Communications online journal, the proposal unveils a plan to replace silicon transistors, the small structures powering electronic devices, with carbon material. 

Dr. Joseph Friedman, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UTD, believes carbon transistors will be more effective and smaller in size than the current transistors made of silicon.

“The concept brings together an assortment of existing nanoscale technologies and combines them in a new way.”
Joseph Friedman

“The concept brings together an assortment of existing nanoscale technologies and combines them in a new way,” said Friedman in a release. 

The carbon transistor plan is founded on a basic electromagnetic principle that the act of an electric current creating a magnetic field around a wire affects the current’s flow through carbon, according to the university.

Because silicon transistors can’t harness this act, Friedman has designed a spintronic circuit to include small carbon wires that will affect the electric current through a carbon ribbon. 

Since carbon transistors will use electromagnetic waves instead of electron movement, Friedman is predicting faster communication through the transistors. 

His proposal is backed by work from researchers across the country. 

“This was a great interdisciplinary collaborative team effort, combining my circuit proposal with physics analysis by Jean-Pierre Leburton and Anuj Girdhar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; technology guidance from Ryan Gelfand at the University of Central Florida; and systems insight from Alan Sahakian, Allen Taflove, Bruce Wessels, Hooman Mohseni and Gokhan Memik at Northwestern,” Friedman said. 

Friedman isn’t the first UTD researcher to seek an alternative to silicon transistors, which are known to have limited space. In October, a group of researchers including UTD’s Dr. Moon Kim published a study about a transistor prototype built using a class of semiconductor materials called transition metal dichalcogenides.


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