US scientists look to develop speedier chips

Scientists at a US university are working on a new kind of transistor that could lead to computer chips with speeds in terahertz – thousands of times faster than existing desktop computer chips.

Scientists at a US university are working on a new kind of transistor that could lead to computer chips with speeds in terahertz – thousands of times faster than existing desktop computer chips.

The University of Rochester has secured a £0.6m grant from the US National Science Foundation to develop a prototype of its new design, dubbed the Ballistic Deflection Transistor.

Conventional transistors work by starting and stopping the flow of electrons through the chip. But the Ballistic Deflection Transistor instead bounces electrons into their chosen trajectories – a method that uses less energy.

A chip built this way would use very little power, create very little heat, and be highly resistant to the “noise” inherent in electronic systems, as well as achieving high speeds, the researchers say.

The university team also believes new ballistic chips would be easy to manufacture with current technologies.

 

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