Silicon Carbide Circuits on the Way

Silicon's tougher cousin will have applications in high-power and high-frequency devices

3 min read

1 October 2004--Although silicon is the semiconducting material of choice in the majority of applications in electronics, its performance is poor where large currents at high voltages have to be controlled. For about 50 years, scientists have been eyeing silicon carbide as a promising alternative in these applications.

SiC has a wider band gap than silicon, so it can be used in devices that run at temperatures as high as 600 °C. Since electrons need more energy to jump the bigger gap, it is less likely that heat alone will drive them across the gap where they can interfere with the device's functioning. At the same time, SiC is chemically inert and resistant to ionizing radiation; it conducts heat three times better than silicon; the material can handle 10 times silicon's electric field limits (the breakdown field); and charge carriers move faster through it.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.

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The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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