27 Jun '14, 11pm

Introducing the Vacuum Transistor: A Device Made of Nothing via @IEEESpectrum

Our prototype vacuum transistor operates at 10 volts, an order of magnitude higher than modern CMOS chips use. But researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been able to build vacuum transistors that operate at just 1 or 2 V , albeit with significant compromises in design flexibility. We’re confident we can reduce the voltage requirements of our device to similar levels by shrinking the distance between its anode and cathode. Also, the sharpness of these electrodes determines how much they concentrate the electric field, and the makeup of the cathode material governs how large a field is needed to extract electrons from it. So we might also be able to reduce the voltage needed by designing electrodes with sharper points or a more advantageous chemical composition that lowers the barrier for the electron escaping from the cathode. This will no doubt be something of a...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/devices/introduci...

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