Revolutionizing Semiconductor Technology with a Unique Dual-Mode Transistor-Memory Design

As technology rapidly advances, semiconductor technology faces unprecedented challenges. Supported by the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), a collaborative research team led by Dr. Meng-Yu Tsai from the Institute of Electron-ics at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), Professor Po-Wen Chiu, R&D Director of NTHU, Professor Yen-Fu Lin from the Department of Physics at National Chung Hsing University (NCHU), and Professor Jiunn-Lin Wu from the Department of Computer Science at NCHU, has made a significant breakthrough. They developed a novel dual-mode two-dimensional (2D) electronic component, transcending the physical limitations of traditional silicon wafers and paving new avenues for effi-cient computing and semiconductor process simplification. This notable achieve-ment was published in the international journal Nature Electronics in September 2023.

The major advancement of this electronic component is its capability to seam-lessly switch between "memory" and "transistor" modes. Light plays a pivotal role, acting as the "key" to trigger the device's functions. When illuminated, the com-ponent switches to "memory mode," dynamically adjusting its doping concentra-tion and even charge polarity, akin to being "unlocked." In the absence of light, it stays "locked" in "transistor mode," maintaining stable switching functionality. This groundbreaking architecture brings to reality the feasibility of multifunctional mode switching in electronic components, offering a solution for processing and storing massive data in the next-generation computing.

The innovative structure of this component is built on a traditional silicon dioxide (SiO2) base, stacked with a van der Waals heterostructure. Key materials include a 2D ambipolar semiconductor (rhenium diselenide; ReSe2) and a 2D insulator (hexagonal boron nitride; h-BN). This arrangement allows light to induce the gen-eration of numerous electron-hole pairs in ReSe2, channeling one type of charge carrier into the interface between h-BN and SiO2, thereby achieving polarity con-trol and charge storage.

Furthermore, each mode of this component displays unique operational charac-teristics. In "transistor mode," it can be tailored for various N-type or P-type tran-sistor configurations, enabling a spectrum of logic gate units from basic to com-plex. In "memory mode," it emulates synaptic functions of the human brain, es-pecially potent when integrated with Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) for image recognition, enhancing the ability to process complex visual tasks. This illus-trates its potential in neuromorphic computing and opens new directions in artifi-cial intelligence technology.

In today's data-intensive and highly integrated digital era, the dual-mode opera-tional 2D electronic component developed by the joint team from NTHU and NCHU marks a significant breakthrough in semiconductor technology. This light-controlled electronic component, capable of flexibly switching between memory and transistor modes, holds immense potential for next-generation integrated cir-cuit design and neural network applications. Future prospects include large-scale array applications in semiconductor manufacturing, simplifying processes, en-hancing efficiency, and potentially overcoming the bottleneck of von Neumann architecture caused by miniaturization in semiconductor technology.


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Department of Natural Sciences and Sustainable Development
National Science and Technology Council
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Last Modified : 2024/01/15