Since 1986 - Covering the Fastest Computers in the World and the People Who Run Them

Language Flags
May 27, 2011

Researchers Scale Silicon Wall

Nicole Hemsoth

In order to work around some of the performance limitations of silicon at the nanoscale, researchers are looking for ways to improve on existing architectures and engineer new materials to prevent performance degradation. A rising tide of interest and funding has spilled into work to discover high performance nanaoscale materials that will replace silicon transistors in the next decade.

Dr. Bhagawan Sahu at the Microelectronic Research Center in Austin, Texas is one of several scientists looking for silicon replacements at SWAN, a research center exploring next-generation nanotransistors.

SWAN is one of four nanoelectronics centers that is funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative. This effort is backed by international semiconductor firms, including Intel, Texas Instruments, IBM and others, with vested interest in “safeguarding and going beyond Moore’s Law.”

According to a report today from the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Dr. Sahu and his team have made significant progress in their nanoscale materials research. As Aaron Dubrow reported:

“Today’s smallest semiconductor transistors are about 32 nanometers (nm) long. Dr. Sahu and the SWAN team aim to make 10nm transistors, with a thickness of less than one nanometer, using graphene. Since it was discovered in the mid-2000s, graphene has been lauded as the savior of the semiconductor industry. In 2010, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, of the University of Manchester, UK, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material.”

Made up of a single layer of graphite, graphene is the thinnest material in the world and possesses electron mobilities (a measure of how fast electrons in a material can move in response to external voltages) higher than silicon. These characteristics are attractive features and have generated tremendous interest from the semiconductor industry. However, as scientists learned more about graphene and proved it could be used as a potential material in transistors, initial excitements gave way to a greater appreciation of the design and fabrication challenges ahead.”

Full story at TACC

SC14 Virtual Booth Tours

AMD SC14 video AMD Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Cray SC14 video Cray Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Datasite SC14 video DataSite and RedLine @ SC14
Click to Play Video
HP SC14 video HP Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
IBM DCS3860 and Elastic Storage @ SC14 video IBM DCS3860 and Elastic Storage @ SC14
Click to Play Video
IBM Flash Storage
@ SC14 video IBM Flash Storage @ SC14  
Click to Play Video
IBM Platform @ SC14 video IBM Platform @ SC14
Click to Play Video
IBM Power Big Data SC14 video IBM Power Big Data @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Intel SC14 video Intel Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Lenovo SC14 video Lenovo Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Mellanox SC14 video Mellanox Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Panasas SC14 video Panasas Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Quanta SC14 video Quanta Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Seagate SC14 video Seagate Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video
Supermicro SC14 video Supermicro Virtual Booth Tour @ SC14
Click to Play Video