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Multigate transistors as the future of classical metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors

Abstract

For more than four decades, transistors have been shrinking exponentially in size, and therefore the number of transistors in a single microelectronic chip has been increasing exponentially. Such an increase in packing density was made possible by continually shrinking the metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET). In the current generation of transistors, the transistor dimensions have shrunk to such an extent that the electrical characteristics of the device can be markedly degraded, making it unlikely that the exponential decrease in transistor size can continue. Recently, however, a new generation of MOSFETs, called multigate transistors, has emerged, and this multigate geometry will allow the continuing enhancement of computer performance into the next decade.

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Figure 1: A schematic view of a classical bulk n-channel MOSFET.
Figure 2: The drain current as a function of gate voltage in a MOSFET.
Figure 3: The evolution of transistor gate length (minimum feature size) and the density of transistors in microprocessors over time.
Figure 4: Illustration of short-channel effects.
Figure 5: Types of multigate MOSFET.
Figure 6: A multifingered (three-finger) silicon nanowire transistor.
Figure 7: Competition between the different electric fields for an elemental volume in the channel region.
Figure 8: Variation of the DIBL effect with channel length.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Science Foundation Ireland grants 05/IN/I888, 07/IN.1/I937 and 10/IN.1/I2992, the European project SQWIRE under Grant Agreement No. 257111 and the European Community (EC) Seventh Framework Program through the Network of Excellence Nano-TEC under Contract 257964. We thank N. Petkov and M. Schmidt for the electron microscopy images in Fig. 6.

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Correspondence to Jean-Pierre Colinge.

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Ferain, I., Colinge, C. & Colinge, JP. Multigate transistors as the future of classical metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors. Nature 479, 310–316 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10676

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