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Ovonics Devises New Semiconductor Control Device

Stanford Ovshinsky, president, chief scientist and technologist at Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD Ovonics; www.ovonic.com; Rochester Hills, MI), says his firm has developed a nano-control device that has the potential to replace transistors.

Stanford Ovshinsky, president, chief scientist and technologist at Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD Ovonics; www.ovonic.com; Rochester Hills, MI), says his firm has developed a nano-control device that has the potential to replace transistors. The all thin-film device is said to have significant multifunctional capabilities when compared to transistors, thanks to its high current carrying capacity and unique modulation gain. Its multifunctional operating modes include the ability to be turned on using a small pulse applied to a third terminal in either latching or non-latching manners. Using thin film fabrication, Ovshinsky says the device can be fabricated in a cost-effective manner, using the Ovonic roll-to-roll process, a continuous web, triple-injection, roll-to-roll photovoltaic processor already makes 9 miles of thin-film, semi conducting photovoltaics in a single run.

“We believe the functionality of the device will…augment and increase the performance of today’s computers and potentially become the preferred computational system, either binary or non binary,” Ovshinsky says. “Therefore, all-thin computers would be possible.” He suggests future vehicle electronics, consumer electronic products and communication devices could be controlled by the new device, which is composed of solid state plasma. Ovshinsky refuses to speculate on when it will hit the market, saying a number of obstacles remain—most notably the start-up costs to manufacture the device in high volume. Ovonics plans to seek partners to make the device ubiquitous, in a similar fashion to the firm’s Ovonyx venture (owned 39.5% by ECD with venture capital from Intel), which aims to commercialize OUM—Ovonic Unified Memory—technology to replace FLASH and DRAM technologies.—KMK