Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

GaAs Powered

Research at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Lab-oratories in Murray Hill, N. J., may be hastening the onset of a new era in electronic materials. Scientists have long known that electrons travel much faster in gallium arsenide (GaAs) than in silicon. But GaAs has found limited use in computing devices, partly because of the difficulty of fabricating suitable transistors.

Silicon chips use metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors, or MOSFETs. Most GaAs devices now in use (principally in wireless communications) are MESFETs, lacking the oxide. To tap the advantages of GaAs fully will require MOSFETs, which use less power. Bell Labs took the first step two years ago, but its prototypes were woefully inadequate-current fluctuated by 20 percent over a few hours. In the new GaAs devices, however, current drifts only about 1.5 percent after 200 hours. One key benefit: longer time between cell phone rechargings.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.