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Sunday, October 11, 2020

#449 Quantum has been around for a long time

Quantum computing, quantum bits, or qubits, quantum information, these are all terms commonly used these days to reflect on the things to come. But quantum computing is just one aspect of the “quantum story”. Quantum phenomena, or in other words phenomena described by the quantum physics, rather ten classical physics, were not only known and understood, but also routinely exploited in commercial and exploratory semiconductor devices for decades.


For instance, consider the effect known as quantum tunneling allowing electrons to cross potential barrier without changing energy upon which tunnel diodes and Zener diodes, available for some 50+ years, are based. The dark side of tunneling is its parasitic effect on the leakage current of the MOS gates featuring ultra-thin (less than 3 nm) gate oxides. The need to control this effect prompted high-k gate dielectric materials introduction into the MOSFET technology some fifteen years ago.  


On top of it come numerous papers presenting results of the research on all possible aspects of quantum tunneling in semiconductor devices published in the last three decades of the 20th century. My own small contribution in this area came exactly 40 years ago! (see J. Ruzyllo, “Lateral MIS Tunnel Transistor”, IEEE Electron Device Letters, vol. 1(10), 1980).


Quantum tunneling is just one example. How about quantum wells, 2D electron gas, ballistic transport, and other quantum physics-based phenomena ubiquitous in state-of-the-art electronic and photonic semiconductor devices? Some more on these issues next time. 


Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 08:26 PM | Semiconductors | Link is a personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University. With over forty years' experience in academic research and teaching in semiconductor engineering he has a unique perspective on the developments in this technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

This book gives a complete account of semiconductor engineering covering semiconductor properties, semiconductor materials, semiconductor devices and their uses, process technology, fabrication processes, and semiconductor materials and process characterization.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.


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