Nanoelectronics, as the name implies, is the application of nanotechnology to electronic devices. The term nanoelectronics refers to a wide variety of devices and materials that are extremely small, of which the inter-atomic interactions and quantum mechanical properties need to be thoroughly analyzed.
These include advanced molecular electronics, hybrid molecular/semiconductor electronics, one-dimensional nanotubes/nanowires (such as silicon nanowires or carbon nanotubes), and so on.
Nanoelectronics devices typically have critical dimensions ranging from 1 to 100 nanometres. Recent generations of silicon MOSFET technology are already within this domain. This includes 22 nanometres of CMOS (complementary MOS) nodes and the succeeding 14 nm, 10 nm, and 7 nm FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) generations.
As some components considered for nanoelectronics are radically different from conventional transistors, the said technology is sometimes referred to as disruptive technology.
The use of conventional semiconductor fabrication methods cannot match the potential of nanoelectronics to increase the processing capability of computer chips to a level not previously attainable.
Research is now being conducted on several potential solutions, one of which is the utilization of nanomaterials, such as nanowires or tiny molecules, in place of conventional CMOS components, along with other possible solutions being investigated, including new types of nanolithography. Both semiconducting carbon nanotubes and heterostructured semiconductor nanowires (SiNWs) have been successfully incorporated into the construction of field effect transistors.
Memory Storage Devices
Earlier, electronic memory architectures relied heavily on producing transistors for most of their functionality. However, research into crossbar switches, which are used in electronics, has led to the development of an alternative that uses reconfigurable linkages between vertical and horizontal wiring arrays to provide extremely high-density memories.
Nantero, which has developed a carbon nanotube-based crossbar memory called Nano-RAM, and Hewlett-Packard, which has proposed using memristor material as a future replacement for Flash memory, are two leaders in this field. Nantero’s Nano-RAM memory is based on crossbars, while Hewlett-Packard uses memristor material.
Novel Optoelectronic Device
Due to their tremendous bandwidth and capacity, optical or optoelectronic devices rapidly replace traditional analogue electrical devices in today’s communication technologies. Photonic crystals and quantum dots are two such examples.
A photonic crystal is a material with a periodic variation in the refractive index and a lattice constant equal to half the wavelength of the light being utilized. They function like semiconductors but for light or photons, allowing a tuneable band gap to propagate at a specific wavelength.
Quantum dots are nanosized particles with various potential applications, including laser manufacturing. One distinct advantage of quantum dot lasers over their semiconductor counterparts is that the wavelength of light they emit varies with dot size. Compared to traditional laser diodes, quantum dot lasers are more cost-effective while providing superior beam quality.
Carbon nanotubes (CNT) and silicon nanowires could be used to fabricate energy-efficient displays. Nanostructures with a diameter of just a few nanometres are highly efficient field emitters for field emission displays (FED) because of their high conductivity and small size. Its principle of operation is nearly similar to that of a cathode ray tube but on a much smaller scale.
Prominent Applications of Nanoelectronics
Spintronics focuses on the magnetic moment and electric charge of electron spin. Spintronics is a well-established field of research, and devices based on this area of study are anticipated to have the much-increased processing power and significantly decreased power usage compared to current semiconductor devices, which are based on the charges of a large number of electrons. Many technologies use quantum behaviour in computers, and spintronics plays a crucial part in each of them, which is why it is one of the most prominent applications of nanoelectronics.
Optoelectronics are electronic devices that are used to create, detect, and manipulate light. One of the most critical problems with today’s technology is how much energy it consumes, and for this, nanoscale optoelectronics is seen as a potential solution. There is a growing trend toward using nanomaterials in optoelectronics, specifically carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes, and atomically thick graphene has also shown promising results.
Nanowire-based electrodes could make it possible for flat panel displays to be both flexible and thinner than their conventional counterparts. A lightweight, millimetre-thick display may be possible if carbon nanotubes are utilized to transport electrons to light up pixels.
As seen by the rapidly expanding variety of smartwatches and next-generation personal health gadgets, the era of wearable electronics has arrived. To that end, those working on such gadgets aim to balance physical adaptability, ease of manufacturing, and low power consumption. Research that used cadmium selenide nanocrystals on plastic sheets to make flexible electronic circuits showed a positive sign and could be considered for further developments in smart wearable devices.
So, these were the top applications of nanoelectronics, and with the information we discussed in this short article, it is pretty evident that the global nanoelectronics industry is taking a strike in global industry and will soon be one of the top revenue earners globally.
Considering all the advantages and the applications nanoelectronics is being used for, the global market for nanoelectronics is said to have an impeccable growth rate of 12.2% over the forecast period that ends in the year 2023, which shows the withhold of the said market segment on a global scale.