The research team has proposed a thin-film transistor with independent control of charge injection and transport for mixed-signal and analog computation in a paper published in Advanced Intelligent Systems.
The team has called the structure the multimodal transistor (MMT). It results in low distortion for single-stage amplifiers; up to 90 percent faster response than other contact‐controlled transistors; immunity to gain loss when used in analog floating gate applications; and substantial tolerance to geometrical registration errors. These features are promising for application to sensor amplification, event detection and analog memory and neuromorphic computing, the authors assert.
In the MMT, on/off switching is controlled independently from the amount of current passing through the structure. This allows the MMT to operate at a higher speed than comparable devices and to have a linear dependence between input and output, essential for ultra-compact digital-to-analogue conversion. This can lead to greatly simplified circuits.
"Our multimodal transistor is a paradigm shift in transistor design. It could change how we create future electronic circuits," said Radu Sporea, project lead and senior lecturer in semiconductor devices at the University of Surrey, in a statement. "Despite its elegantly simple footprint, it truly punches above its weight and could be the key enabler for future wearables and gadgets beyond the current Internet of Things."
Eva Bestelink is the co-inventor of the MMT. She chose to study Electronic Engineering at the University of Surrey after a career change. Bestelink said: “It has been an incredible journey since approaching Dr Sporea during my BEng with the idea to create a device based on neural function. When we started in 2017, we could not imagine all the benefits that would result from a relatively simple device design."
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