Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Light-emitting Transistor Could Revolutionize Electronics Industry

Date:
January 6, 2004
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Put the inventor of the light-emitting diode and the maker of the world's fastest transistor together in a research laboratory and what kinds of bright ideas might surface? One answer is a light-emitting transistor that could revolutionize the electronics industry.

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Put the inventor of the light-emitting diode and the maker of the world's fastest transistor together in a research laboratory and what kinds of bright ideas might surface? One answer is a light-emitting transistor that could revolutionize the electronics industry.

Related Articles


Professors Nick Holonyak Jr. and Milton Feng at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have uncovered a light-emitting transistor that could make the transistor the fundamental element in optoelectronics as well as in electronics. The scientists report their discovery in the Jan. 5 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

"We have demonstrated light emission from the base layer of a heterojunction bipolar transistor, and showed that the light intensity can be controlled by varying the base current," said Holonyak, a John Bardeen Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at Illinois. Holonyak invented the first practical light-emitting diode and the first semiconductor laser to operate in the visible spectrum.

"This work is still in the early stage, so it is not yet possible to say what all the applications will be," Holonyak said. "But a light-emitting transistor opens up a rich domain of integrated circuitry and high-speed signal processing that involves both electrical signals and optical signals."

A transistor usually has two ports: one for input and one for output. "Our new device has three ports: an input, an electrical output and an optical output," said Feng, the Holonyak Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois. "This means that we can interconnect optical and electrical signals for display or communication purposes." Feng is credited with creating the world's fastest bipolar transistor, a device that operates at a frequency of 509 gigahertz.

Graduate student Walid Hafez fabricated the light-emitting transistor in the university's Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. Unlike traditional transistors, which are built from silicon and germanium, the light-emitting transistors are made from indium gallium phosphide and gallium arsenide.

"In a bipolar device, there are two kinds of injected carriers: negatively charged electrons and positively charged holes," Holonyak said. "Some of these carriers will recombine rapidly, supported by a base current that is essential for the normal transistor function."

The recombination process in indium gallium phosphide and gallium arsenide materials also creates infrared photons, the "light" in the researchers' light-emitting transistors. "In the past, this base current has been regarded as a waste current that generates unwanted heat," Holonyak said. "We've shown that for a certain type of transistor, the base current creates light that can be modulated at transistor speed."

Although the recombination process is the same as that which occurs in light-emitting diodes, the photons in light-emitting transistors are generated under much higher speed conditions. So far, the researchers have demonstrated the modulation of light emission in phase with a base current in transistors operating at a frequency of 1 megahertz. Much higher speeds are considered certain.

"At such speeds, optical interconnects could replace electrical wiring between electronic components on a circuit board," Feng said. This work could be the beginning of an era in which photons are directed around a chip in much the same fashion as electrons have been maneuvered on conventional chips.

"In retrospect, we could say the groundwork for this was laid more than 56 years ago with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain and their first germanium transistor," said Holonyak, who was Bardeen's first graduate student. "But the direct recombination involving a photon is weak in germanium materials, and John and Walter just wouldn't have seen the light - even if they had looked. If John were alive and we showed him this device, he would have to have a big grin."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "New Light-emitting Transistor Could Revolutionize Electronics Industry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106082752.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2004, January 6). New Light-emitting Transistor Could Revolutionize Electronics Industry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106082752.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "New Light-emitting Transistor Could Revolutionize Electronics Industry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040106082752.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins