Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Quantum speed from a sea of excitons

Like light switches, transistors control the flow of electric currents. Transistors are the fundamental building blocks of any computing device, from smartphones to the computers in cars. According to Phuong Nguyen, a Ph.D. candidate under the direction of Kin Fai Mak, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), and Jie Shan, professor of applied and engineering physics in Cornell Engineering and A&S, we could possibly fit billions or even trillions more transistors into a device, creating a computer that is ultrafast and consumes less energy. The key: two-dimensional materials.

Phuong Nguyen

Most transistors today are made of three-dimensional silicon. The size of silicon transistors has shrunk dramatically over the past several decades, but three-dimensional transistors can only get so small before running into fundamental limits in geometry and physical properties. Nguyen hopes his research at Cornell’s Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP) will lead to transistors that break free of these constraints.

The new field of two-dimensional materials aims to harness quantum particles for practical applications. The goal of creating a low-power, two-dimensional transistor has Nguyen searching for ways to achieve a viable superfluid—a fluid that flows without any resistance. A transistor made from a superfluid would need no energy to drive the current, transforming the way we power our myriad electronic needs.

Read the full story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office