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Transistors, as used in billions on every computer chip, are nowadays based on semiconductor-type materials, usually silicon. As the demands for computer chips in laptops, tablets and smartphones continue to rise, new possibilities are being sought out to fabricate them inexpensively, energy-saving and flexibly. The group led by Dr. Christian Klinke has now succeeded in producing transistors based on a completely different principle. They use metal nanoparticles which are so small that they no longer show their metallic character under current flow but exhibit an energy gap caused by the Coulomb repulsion of the electrons among one another. Via a controlling voltage, this gap can be shifted energetically and the current can thus be switched on and off as desired. In contrast to previous similar approaches, the nanoparticles are not deposited as individual structures, rendering the production very complex and the properties of the corresponding components unreliable, but, instead, they are deposited as thin films with a height of only one layer of nanoparticles. Employing this method, the electrical characteristics of the devices become adjustable and almost identical.

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Category: Science