With the advent of semiconductor transistors—invented in 1947 as a replacement for bulky and inefficient vacuum tubes—has come the consistent demand for faster, more energy-efficient technologies. To fill this need, researchers at PQI are proposing a new spin on an old method: a switch from the use of silicon electronics back to vacuums as a medium for electron transport—exhibiting a significant paradigm shift in electronics. Their findings were published in Nature Nanotechnology.
"Physical barriers are blocking scientists from achieving more efficient electronics," said Hong Koo Kim, PQI faculty and principal investigator on the project. "We worked toward solving that road block by investigating transistors and its predecessor—the vacuum."