A CDE Definition
The technology in an Intel chip that enabled the fabrication of 45 nm microprocessors in 2007. As elements in the chip were being reduced to 45 nanometers, the gate dielectric began to lose its insulating (dielectric) quality and exhibited too much leakage. The gate dielectric is a very thin insulation layer, traditionally made of silicon dioxide, that lies between the transistor's metal gate electrode and the channel through which the current flows.
Intel's solution to the problem was to combine a hafnium-based dielectric layer, instead of silicon dioxide, with a gate electrode composed of alternative metal materials. The resulting combination yields a "high dielectric constant," otherwise known as a "high-K." See transistor.
Electrode and Dielectric
In the analog world of continuously varying signals, a transistor is a device used to amplify its electrical input. In the digital world, a transistor is a binary switch and the fundamental building block of computer circuitry. Like a light switch on the wall, the transistor either prevents or allows current to flow through. A single modern CPU can have hundreds of millions or even billions of transistors.
Made of Semiconductor Material
The active part of the transistor is made of silicon or some other semiconductor material that can change its electrical state when pulsed. In its normal state, the material may be nonconductive or conductive, either impeding or letting current flow. When voltage is applied to the gate, the transistor changes its state. To learn more about the transistor, see transistor concept and chip. See active area, phototransistor and High-K/Metal Gate.
From Transistors to Systems
Conceptual View of a Transistor
The First Silicon Transistor
Transistors Get Smaller
Before/After Your Search Term
Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.