Over time, as scientists were able to shrink the size of transistors, they could add more and increase the efficiency of circuit boards.
But with transistors getting down to lower nanometer scale, further downsizing is increasingly difficult. Now, a team from the University of Pittsburgh is improving on silicon electronics using--you guessed it--a form of vacuum technology.
The Pitt researchers noted that in a typical solid-state device, electrons often experience collisions or become scattered, (Sound effect: analog slowing and deepening of voice) slowing them d-o-w-n.
(Sound effect: traffic jam sound)The scientists redesigned the vacuum electrical device, meshing it with solid-state electronics.
They created nanoscale vacuum channels that give the electrons a clear, no-collision path.
This speedier movement of electrons could make for faster, more energy-efficient transistors.