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Energy Efficient Electronics; Searching for the milli-Volt Switch

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In contemplating the headlong rush toward miniaturization represented by Moore’s Law, it is tempting to think only of the progression toward molecular sized components. There is a second aspect of Moore’s Law that is sometimes overlooked. Because of miniaturization, the energy efficiency of information processing steadily improves. But there is an inefficiency for communications. It is caused by the difference in voltage scale between the wires and the transistor switches. Transistors are thermally activated, leading to a required voltage >>kT/q. Wires are long, and they have a low impedance, allowing them to operate efficiently even at ~1 millivolt. The challenge then is to replace transistors with a new low-voltage switch that is better matched to the wires. I will present some of the technical options for such a new switch, which are being explored by the new NSF Science & Technology Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science. http://www.e3s-center.org/

This talk is part of the Scott Lectures series.

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