Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 1


Concentrating photovoltaics Engineers at Penn State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested a new concentrating photovoltaic solar system, which they say can produce over 50% more energy per day than standard silicon solar cells. In contrast to silicon solar panels, which currently dominate the market at 15 to 20 percent efficiency, concentrating photovoltaics (... » read more

TFETs Cut Sub-Threshold Swing


One of the main obstacles to continued transistor scaling is power consumption. As gate length decreases, the sub-threshold swing (SS) — the gate voltage required to change the drain current by one order of magnitude — increases. As Qin Zhang, Wei Zhao, and Alan Seabaugh of Notre Dame explained in 2006, SS faces a theoretical minimum of 60 mV/decade at room temperature in conventional MO... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 7


Infrared links for data centers Researchers at Penn State, Stony Brook University and Carnegie Mellon University developed a free space optical link for communication in data centers using infrared lasers and receivers mounted on top of data center racks. According to Mohsen Kavehrad, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State, "It uses a very inexpensive lens, we get a very narrow... » read more

Managing Parasitics For Transistor Performance


The basic equations describing transistor behavior rely on parameters like channel doping, the capacitance of the gate oxide, and the resistance between the source and drain and the channel. And for most of the IC industry's history, these have been sufficient. “Parasitic” or “external” resistances and capacitances from structures outside the transistor have been small enough to discoun... » read more

System Bits: Sept. 6


How might AI affect urban life in 2030? In an ongoing project hosted by Stanford University to inform societal deliberation and provide guidance on the ethical development of smart software, sensors and machines, a panel of academic and industrial thinkers has looked ahead to 2030 to forecast how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) might affect life in a typical North American city. Th... » read more

System Bits: June 28


Deep-learning-based virtual reality tool Given that future systems which enable people to interact with virtual environments will require computers to interpret the human hand’s nearly endless variety and complexity of changing motions and joint angles, Purdue University researchers have created a convolutional neural network-based system that is capable of deep learning. [caption id="att... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 14


3D printed neural networks The European Commission has launched a program that will replicate the brain’s neural network using 3D nano-printing. The program, dubbed the MESO-BRAIN consortium, has received an award of €3.3 million in funding from the European Commission. This research, led by Aston University, also involves Axol Bioscience, Laser Zentrum, the University of Barcelona, th... » read more

Pathfinding Beyond FinFETs


Though the industry will likely continue to find ways to extend CMOS finFET technology further than we thought possible, at some point in the not-so-distant future, making faster, lower power ICs will require more disruptive changes. For something that could be only five to seven years out, there’s a daunting range of contending technologies. Improvements through the process will help, from E... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 22


Superconducting memory A group of scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Moscow State University developed a fundamentally new type of memory cell based on superconductors, which they believe will be able to work hundreds of times faster than memory devices commonly used today. The basic memory cells are based on quantum effects in "sandwiches" of supercond... » read more

System Bits: Dec. 29


Optoelectronics built using existing manufacturing Using only processes found in existing microchip fabrication facilities, researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Colorado have produced a working optoelectronic microprocessor that computes electronically but uses light to move information. The researchers reminded that optical communications prom... » read more

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