The nanoelectronics industry has invested substantially in efforts to produce vertically-oriented, gated nanowires, with aspirations to scale these up to forests of nanowire transistors.
But fabricating just one gate on these tiny structures is fiddly, and the whole procedure must be repeated for each additional gate.
Now researchers have flipped this protocol on its side and shown that with a horizontal architecture, adding multiple gates need not multiply the number of fabrication steps.
"What’s nice about the horizontal orientation is if you have two gates or four gates it’s exactly the same process, so having more gates doesn’t get any harder," says UNSW Associate Professor Adam Micolich.
"We can then tweak that further and start to make simple circuits with multiple transistors in."
Associate Professor Micolich turned his attention to the horizontal architecture following a sabbatical at Lund University, Sweden, where Lars Samuelson’s group were working on these orientations.
While industry has been focused on vertical nanowires, Associate professor Micolich says that for research the horizontal orientation can be more convenient. As it turns out, the horizontal orientation also has several advantages for simplifying production.
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The study is published in the journal Nano Letters.