Everyone is aware of the trend of things becoming smaller with time – computers and mobile phones are the best examples of course. However, even with such great improvements in technology, silicon remains to be the boss semiconductor and the basic and major component of any modern transistors. However, it was only possible to a certain point to keep reducing the sizes of our devices and very soon we would have reached a point where we could not reduce their sizes any further. A solution must be devised and it seems a ray of light has entered the dark room.
Quantum tunneling was the only method that has been considered by many engineers and scientists from around the world as the best replacement for our current semiconducting silicon transistors. Everyone is already familiar with how our transistors get heated up after a few minutes of use but this issue could be tackled with quantum tunneling method. A group of researchers and scientists thought of a good way to try out a new method of transferring electrons between electrodes without using a semi-conductor and they did it with the help of BNNTs and QDs of gold.
BNNTs (boron nitride nanotubes) were picked for this experiment and on them they sprinkled the QDs (quantum dots) of gold. Keeping the whole setting at room temperature the electrodes were given power and surprisingly they successfully did what they wanted to do – electrons jumping and hopping across the tubes using the gold dots as pebbles in the water. The point to notice here is that an insulator, the boron nitride nanotubes, had been converted into a conductor and thus creating a transistor without requiring any kind of semi-conductor e.g. silicon. Even more amazing was the fact that as soon as electrodes were turned off, the BNNTs reverted back to their insulation state.
Even the heating has been taken care of in this experiment since there was no leakage of electrons noticed in the entire experiment. What makes this experiment so successful is the size of the entire setting. According to the scientists taking part in this experiment the bigger size of gold pebbles or islands would have easily allowed a lot of electrons to pass at the same time, which was to be avoided. Is this a hope for the world and engineers of the world that we’ll be able to create smaller technological devices in future without wasting energy and using semi-conductors?