Modern electronics are mostly flat, with millions of planar silicon transistors lying on a chip’s surface. In search of better-performing devices, researchers are now exploring 3D structures, such as vertical transistors, whose advantages include low power consumption, smaller current leaks toward the substrate, and better suitability for flexible electronics. The deployment of vertical transistors, however, is hampered by the lack of a simple model that describes how these transistors work in a circuit. Now, Chuan Liu and co-workers at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, have developed a new theory for vertical transistors that can be turned into formulas and schematic representations of these devices.

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