Researchers at the University of California, San Diego intend to create efficient computer processors using new generation vacuum tubes. Their work can lead to the appearance of microelectronic elements that are ahead of semiconductors in terms of speed.
Bulky vacuum tubes are believed to have been the forerunners of modern transistors. Unsurprisingly, the first tube computers occupied entire rooms and even buildings.
The appearance of transistors has become a true revolution in the field of radio electronics, however, they are far from perfect. The materials from which they are made have a number of disadvantages - as it turned out, it is impossible to infinitely reduce the size of the transistors. One of the options for their further development can be electronic vacuum tubes of a new generation.
In accordance with the laws of physics, the current passing through a semiconductor slows down and partially loses its efficiency. Vacuum cells do not have this problem as the current flows through the vacuum.
One of the important components of a vacuum tube is free electrons in air, which are difficult to create at the nanoscale. As a rule, this requires the use of high voltages or powerful lasers. Scientists have overcome this obstacle with special gold nanostructures combined with low voltage and low power laser.
As a result, it was possible to increase the efficiency of transistors by 10 times, increasing their power and reducing resistance, in comparison with semiconductor analogs.
The next step is to reduce the size of the vacuum tubes. If successful, the computers of the future could be based on a century old technology, but in a more compact size.