The University of Surrey has introduced a device with unique capabilities that might herald the start of a new electronics design philosophy, including next-generation wearables and eco-disposable sensors.
Researchers from the University of Surrey describe how their device, known as the Multimodal Transistor (MMT), solves long-standing obstacles and can execute the same operations as more sophisticated circuits in a report published in Advanced Intelligent Systems.
The MMT’s tolerance to parasitic effects, which decrease a transistor’s capacity to create uniform, repeating signals, is one of the advances. Since their inception in 1967, these issues have hampered traditional “floating gate” designs, but this new structure promises efficient analogue computation for robotic control, AI, and unsupervised machine learning.
Gate electrodes are traditionally used to govern a transistor’s capacity to pass current. On/off switching is regulated independently of the amount of current flowing through the structure with Surrey’s gadget.
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. I am lucky to be part of a group that is open-minded and willing to explore new ideas.Eva Bestelink
This allows the MMT to run at a faster pace than comparable devices while maintaining a linear relationship between input and output, which is critical for ultra-compact digital-to-analog conversion. This also allows engineers tremendous design freedom, perhaps resulting in vastly simpler circuits.
Dr. Radu Sporea, Project Lead and Senior Lecturer in Semiconductor Devices at the University of Surrey, said:
“Our Multimodal Transistor is a paradigm shift in transistor design. It could change how we create future electronic circuits. 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.”
The MMT was co-invented by Eva Bestelink. After a professional move, she decided to study Electronic Engineering at the University of Surrey. Eva 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. I am lucky to be part of a group that is open-minded and willing to explore new ideas.”