Scientists at a US university are working on a new kind of transistor that could lead to computer chips that run thousands of times faster than existing desktop processors.
The University of Rochester has secured a £600,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation to develop a prototype of its design, dubbed the Ballistic Deflection Transistor. If successful, the transistor could be used to build chips that run at terahertz speeds.
Conventional transistors work by starting and stopping the flow of electrons through the chip. 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, generate minimal heat, and be highly resistant to the "noise" inherent in electronic systems, as well as achieving high speeds, the researchers said.
The university team said ballistic chips would be easy to manufacture using current technologies.
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