The World’s Top Semiconductor Research Centre Has Just Produced The First Transistors That Could Replace Silicon

Imec has teamed up with nearly every big gun in the CMOS industry, including Intel, TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix, to use III-V semiconductors—alloys made from metals in old groups III and V—on 300mm silicon wafers and take the next step towards scaling down to 7nm and below, according to Extremetech. While silicon-based transistors hit a wall at 14nm, III-V semiconductors made from indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) and indium phosphide (InP) “have much higher electron mobility than silicon, and can thus be fashioned into faster, smaller, and lower-power transistors,” according to the article.

Silicon fins can only be made so thin, ultimately affecting how small the transistor is. III-V semiconductors, by virtue of their better electrical properties, can be be a lot thinner.

While these compound semiconductors are already used in high-performance settings, including in military radio transceivers, their production cost and defect density has so far prevented them from being adopted into consumer products. This advancement may change all of that.

Read the full article at Extremetech.