The team, led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, designed the minuscule transistor with a working one-nanometre gate – far surpassing any industry expectation for reducing transistor sizes. In the scientific study, MoS2 transistors with 1-nanometer gate lengths, published today in the journal Science, the researchers describe a prototype device which uses a novel semiconductor material known as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).

The transistor structure uses a single-walled carbon nanotube as the gate electrode and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) for the channel material, rather than silicon.

‘The semiconductor industry has long assumed that any gate below 5 nanometers wouldn’t work, so anything below that was not even considered,’ explained study lead Sujay Desai.

transistor_schematic670‘This research shows that sub-5-nanometre gates should not be discounted. Industry has been squeezing every last bit of capability out of silicon. By changing the material from silicon to MoS2, we can make a transistor with a gate that is just 1 nanometer in length, and operate it like a switch,’ he added.

For comparison, a piece of paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick.

Source: Transistor smashes industry ‘limit’, measures just 1nm