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Computer chips use billions of tiny switches, called transistors, to process information. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the computer.

A material shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix might further push the limits on a transistor's size. The material comes from a rare earth element called tellurium.

Researchers found that the material, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, helps build a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale.

The research is published in the journal Nature Electronics. Engineers at Purdue University performed the work in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

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Category: Science