Back to the Future

Subscribe to the KNI Email List

Research done in the KNI facility by Scherer Group members, Max Jones and Daniil Lukin was featured in the NY Times. As today's transistors get smaller, the more they leak electrons, so an older technology using vacuum tubes is making a comeback.

Gordon Moore

June 6, 2016

The silicon transistor, the tiny switch that is the building block of modern microelectronics, replaced the vacuum tube in many consumer products in the 1970s. Now as shrinking transistors to even more Lilliputian dimensions is becoming vastly more challenging, the vacuum tube may be on the verge of a comeback.

Axel Scherer, who heads the Nanofabrication Group at Caltech, and his students Max Jones and Daniil Lukin are working to develop an ultrasmall vacuum tube as a candidate to replace the transistor. In their laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, they have fabricated circuits that function like vacuum tubes but are a millionth the size of the100-year-old technology.