Flexible iron quantum dot transistor operates at room temperature without semiconductor materials

02/17/2016 - 16:30

Allison Mills

The road to more versatile wearable technology is dotted with iron. Specifically, quantum dots of iron arranged on boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). The new material is the subject of a study published in Scientific Reports in February, led by Yoke Khin Yap, a professor of physics at Michigan Technological University.

Yap says the iron-studded BNNTs are pushing the boundaries of electronics hardware.


Ref: New Flexible Channels for Room Temperature Tunneling Field Effect Transistors. Scientific Reports (5 February 2016) | DOI: 10.1038/srep20293 | PDF (Open Access)


Tunneling field effect transistors (TFETs) have been proposed to overcome the fundamental issues of Si based transistors, such as short channel effect, finite leakage current, and high contact resistance. Unfortunately, most if not all TFETs are operational only at cryogenic temperatures. Here we report that iron (Fe) quantum dots functionalized boron nitride nanotubes (QDs-BNNTs) can be used as the flexible tunneling channels of TFETs at room temperatures. The electrical insulating BNNTs are used as the one-dimensional (1D) substrates to confine the uniform formation of Fe QDs on their surface as the flexible tunneling channel. Consistent semiconductor-like transport behaviors under various bending conditions are detected by scanning tunneling spectroscopy in a transmission electron microscopy system (in-situ STM-TEM). As suggested by computer simulation, the uniform distribution of Fe QDs enable an averaging effect on the possible electron tunneling pathways, which is responsible for the consistent transport properties that are not sensitive to bending.