As transistors approach nanoscale, keeping pace with the relentless march of Moore's Law is becoming increasingly challenging. Soon physical effects will emerge that will cause circuits to behave unreliably and force researchers to turn to new materials. Even sooner, industry may reach a point where shrinking transistors further is too expensive to be practical. Finding ways to surmount these future engineering hurdles, while keeping costs down, is the ongoing focus of physical electronics research.
To ensure that the electronics industry can continue marching, academic researchers work behind the scenes to conjure up new ideas decades before they are realized in consumer products. At Berkeley, EECS faculty are drawing on insights and methods from chemistry and physics to create the technology of the future. One group effort has resulted in a cutting-edge transistor that pushes silicon-based technology to the nanoscale. In another effort, Jeff Bokor and Ali Javey are exploring new materials that may some day combine with, or replace, silicon. Vivek Subramanian, meanwhile, is developing technology for printable, flexible, and wearable electronics. The technology, which emphasizes economics over size, incorporates a novel printing material called nanoparticulate gold.