A fundamental flaw in scientists' understanding of transistor noise has been uncovered by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The team has found evidence that a widely-accepted model, which explains errors caused by electronic 'noise' in the switches, is incorrect.
Jason Campbell, an engineer at NIST, has studied fluctuations between on-off states in progressively smaller transistors and has found that the fluctuation frequency remains the same even in nanoscale transistors.
"The model was a good working theory when transistors were large, but our observations clearly indicate that it's incorrect at the smaller nanoscale regimes where industry is headed," he explained.
NIST's findings could have implications for the low-power transistors currently used in consumer technology, such as laptop computers.
Researchers from NIST and the Georgia Institute of Technology recently measured the energy spectrum of graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms which might replace today's silicon-based integrated circuits and other devices.