Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have recently synthesized a transverse tunneling field-effect transistor. This is a semiconductor system that can be utilized to amplify or switch electric power or signals, working through a phenomenon called quantum tunneling.
The new transistor, introduced in a paper published in Nature Electronics, was constructed utilizing a van der Waals heterostructure, a material with atomically thin layers that don’t mix with each other; however, are instead connected through van der Waals interactions.
Tunnel field-effect transistors are an experimental type of semiconductor system that operates through a mechanism called band-to-band tunneling (BTBT).
These transistors have a variety of applications, for example, in the development of radiofrequency (RF) oscillators or memory parts for electronic gadgets.
In these gadgets, carriers sometimes tunnel via a barrier, heading in the same direction as the total output current. The current in this tunnel provides straight to the machine’s total current.
To operate most efficiently, these units ought to ideally be constructed with high-quality interfaces and sharp energy band edges.
2D van der Waals heterostructures may thus be optimal candidates for their fabrication, as researchers can pile different materials on top of one another, leading to high-quality interfaces and sharp band edges.
In the transverse tunneling field-transistor engineered by this group of researchers, the tunneling current can evoke a drastic change in the output current through an electrostatic effect.
This ultimately lets the gadget achieve a tunable negative differential resistance with a peak-to-valley ratio (PVR) of more than 100 at room temperatures.