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Transistors nearing the one terahertz barrier

Darren Murph

Tossing the all-too-common "world's fastest" label on your latest gig seems to happen entirely more frequently than necessary, but researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are make this claim legitimately. While we've seen those wee transistors ratchet up in speed, these gurus have shattered any previous records that may have been standing by crafting a transistor "with a frequency of 845GHz," which is "approximately 300GHz faster" that those built by "other research groups." While the terahertz barrier is arguably the "Holy Grail" of transistor speed, this leap forward doesn't leave them too far off from the ultimate goal. In addition to the pseudomorphic construction, the crew also used tinier components in order to "reduce the distance electrons have to travel, resulting in an increase of speed." Notably, the chip "only" runs at 765GHz while ticking along at room temperature, but chilling it to minus 55-degrees Celsius bumps it up to the record-holding 845GHz mark. Developers are quite pleased with the results, but as expected, aren't entirely satisfied, and seemingly can't wait to push the envelope a bit further and break their own record sometime soon.

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