Silicon-based field effect transistor (FET) devices are building blocks of silicon-based digital, analog, and hybrid electronics. Often made of a metal-oxide-silicon (MOS) type structure, these devices are interconnected to generate so-called "complementary" MOSFET circuits, known as CMOS transistor circuitry. CMOS enjoys the benefits of low power and high speed operation, and advancements in these two properties have primarily been achieved through reduction of the channel length, which is now well into the submicron range for commercial devices. However, CMOS technology is approaching certain fundamental limits that will prohibit further miniaturization, likely due to the complex material formulations used. To overcome these limits, researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a novel Tunneling Field Effect Transistor (TFET) that will allow for further device miniaturization, reduced power, and increased speed beyond what is possible with current CMOS technology, while still enabling the use of well-established CMOS manufacturing processes.
Power-constrained military systems
Practically anywhere silicon-based electronics are used
Extends CMOS, enabling a new generation of device topologies while allowing the use of current manufacturing processes
Faster turn-on at lower voltages than competing TFET designs
Steep sub-threshold slopes (below 60mV/decade)
Less current leakage in the "off" state compared to competing TFET designs
Higher current densities in the "on" state compared to competing TFET designs
Since the early 1960’s, the utility of the tunnel diode (or Esaki diode) has been evident, but several practical hurdles have kept it from reaching mainstream status. Historically, it has been difficult to control peak current and, more importantly, tunnel diode fabrication has lacked a Si-based process that can easily be mass produced and integrated into existing Si-based integrated circuits. As a result, today’s tunnel diodes are primarily used in discrete form and for niche applications. Regardless, tunnel diodes have many current and future applications, and the challenges of aggressively scaled CMOS is forcing this subject to be seriously revisited, since quantum tunneling will dominate in any ultra-low dimensional material. The structure of the Resonant Interband Tunneling Diode (RITD) differs from that of the Esaki diode (traditional tunnel diode) which results in additional useful properties. In RITDs, electrons quantum mechanically tunnel across an energy well formed between two barriers, where Esaki diodes have no energy well. This quantum mechanical tunneling effect happens extremely quickly and thus very high speed electronics can be realized with the use of RITDs. Terahertz operation has been demonstrated. Furthermore, a useful effect called Negative Differential Resistance (NDR) can be exploited using these devices.
Can augment CMOS technology resulting in novel logic and embedded circuit topologies with reduced device count, low power, and faster speed.
Can be implemented in ICs, memory devices, and small, lightweight portable electronics for greater performance at lower power consumption
Applications found in oscillators, frequency locking circuits, advanced SRAM circuits, highly integrated A/D converters, high speed digital latches, and many others
Uses quantum tunneling, a very high-speed process. Terahertz operation has been demonstrated
Shown to exhibit Negative Differential Resistance (NDR)
Low cost, compatible with current CMOS technology, and easy to integrate into existing manufacturing processes
Runs at room temperature and at very low voltage
Can be combined with existing technologies to offer flexibility
Tunneling Diode: Use and Manufacturing – US Pending Using Backward Tunneling Diode as a Sensor – US Pending
In many combustion-related industries, monitoring CO levels is critical for estimating the efficiency of the combustion process. With the ideal balance of oxygen to fuel, pollution is also minimized. Existing gas sensors based on metal oxide materials typically operate at 200-300 degrees C. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a CO sensor for hostile industrial environments (450-800 degrees C) that responds to CO at concentrations approaching one part per million. These sensors can be miniaturized with minimal electrical power requirements, and exhibit stable baseline resistance and good response and recovery times. To the best of our knowledge, we know of no existing solid state sensors that equal the performance of these sensors.
Metal processing and casting
Glass and ceramics manufacturing
Power plant operations
Responds to CO at ppm levels
Can be used in high-temperature, hostile environments (450-800 degrees C)
Quick recovery times
More economical than existing high-temperature sensor technologies
Carbon dioxide sensors are becoming increasingly important in many applications including monitoring air quality, CO2 sequestration, measuring metabolic activity in animals, and controlling combustion. While commercial sensors for such applications exist, there is nothing currently on the market designed for reliability and effectiveness in high temperature and high humidity environments. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a reliable, high-performance carbon dioxide electrochemical sensor that works across a wide range of temperatures, is insensitive to humidity, and detects CO2 across a wide range of concentrations. These sensors can be manufactured by thin and thick film processing techniques, and can therefore be miniaturized resulting in a sensor with milliwatt power requirements for operation.
Monitoring of metabolic activity
CO2 monitoring in harsh environments
Power plant and industrial emissions monitoring
Automotive and aerospace emissions monitoring
CO2 sequestration applications
Fast response and recovery
Long-term sensor stability in humid conditions over a wide range of temperature
Lithium ion batteries, commonly found in today’s mobile devices, are poised to play a major role in serving our future energy needs. While current batteries are suitable for mobile phones and laptops, their energies and power densities are insufficient for more demanding applications such as transportation and mass energy storage. The major limiting factor in lithium ion battery performance is in the cathode material, and various materials have been identified that offer large capacity, low cost, chemical stability, and environmental friendliness. Unfortunately, these materials also suffer from very poor electrical conductivity. Much research has focused on forming composites of these materials with different kinds of carbons, conductive polymers, metals, and oxides in order to alleviate this issue, with little success. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed composites of these materials with graphene (planar atomic sheets of graphite) that exhibit excellent electrical conductivity while maintaining the beneficial properties noted above. The researchers have developed one type of graphene composite that boosted the electrical conductivity (compared to the material alone) by eight orders of magnitude. Amazingly, in this case graphene only makes up 3.6% of the composite by weight! Other material systems and methods of manufacture have been developed, and continue to be investigated, that could yield even more impressive results.
High density energy storage for alternative energy sources
Transportation (e.g. hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles)
Mobile devices (enables much longer life and better performance with a smaller battery)
A major breakthrough in the quest for high performance lithium ion batteries with large energy densities
Enables an environmentally friendly cathode material that exhibits large capacity, low cost, chemical stability, and high electrical conductivity
In one test, adding as little as 3.6% graphene by weight boosted the electrical conductivity of a material by eight orders of magnitude
Low carbon content in electrodes due to the use of graphene (3.6% by weight) results in enhanced overall gravimetric and volumetric capacities
Exhibits superior rate capability, maintaining ~70% capacity at 20 C
SnO2-based CO sensors are widely used in domestic and industrial applications and belong to the class of metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) sensors. This class of sensor is easy to manufacture and miniaturize, and sensitivity and selectivity are both tunable. Also, electrochemical measurements are easily realized, require simple electronics, and integration into electronic devices is straightforward. However, since sufficient oxygen vacancies are needed for conduction, MOS sensors typically operate at elevated temperatures, which requires energy consumption and reduces sensor lifetimes. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a MOS CO sensor based on Au/SnO2 core-shell nanoparticles that is operable in the 25 to 150 deg. C range. Sensor response is highly reproducible and recovery is fast in this temperature range, and high sensitivity was exhibited.
Home, office, and industrial CO monitoring for occupant and fire safety
Low temperature and low power requirement makes it compatible with mobile devices
A MOS electrochemical CO sensor that operates in the 25 to 150 deg. C range!
Increased safety and sensor longevity as no heating device is needed
Dr. Eric Walton of the ElectroScience Laboratory at The Ohio State University has developed an automotive antenna that is effectively incorporated into the resistive, conductive heating elements found in automotive windows. The automobile industry has long recognized the advantages of forming an antenna in a vehicle window by imbedding conductors in the window glass. Manufacturers have also recognized that such windows can be defogged or defrosted by distributing resistive conductors over a major portion of the window area (the familiar heater grid found on the rear window of automobiles). It has been realized that the same conductors may be used for both heating the window area and as the communications antenna. The challenge lies in that the heater power source must be isolated from radio frequency signals in order to prevent RF currents from being shorted through the vehicle or heater power system. Previous attempts at isolation have been successful but have resulted in the need for heavy, expensive components and the need for separate antennas for different frequency bands. Dr. Walton’s design allows for optimal AM/FM reception (or the reception of other relatively low and high frequency bands found in modern wireless communication) and impedance matching using a single antenna, whereas previous designs required the use of two separate, different antennas. The design further allows for an apparatus with reduced size, weight, and cost as compared to previous methods. When coupled with U.S. Patents #6,320,558 and #6,483,468 (On-Glass Impedance Matching Antenna Connector, Reference #99062), impedance matching in the AM and FM bands can be easily achieved and a complete on-glass automotive AM/FM antenna/heater grid configuration realized.
A sleek, lightweight, and low-cost antenna solution that is integrated into existing heater grid configurations
When coupled with U.S. Patents #6,320,558 and #6,483,468 (On-Glass Impedance Matching Antenna Connector, Reference #99062), impedance matching in the AM and FM bands can be easily achieved and a complete on-glass automotive AM/FM antenna/heater grid configuration realized
Effectively incorporates an antenna into a vehicle’s heater grid system
Allows for the reception of multiple bands with large frequency separation
Provides a smaller, lighter, lower-cost alternative to previous methods