Hokkaido University and Japan Science and Technology Agency jointly developed a new transistor that reduces the power consumption of the integrated circuit of semiconductor to less than one tenth. They applied the phenomenon called the tunnel effect that enabled Dr. Leona Esaki to become a Nobel Prize winner. The researchers built up molecules on the silicone substrate and constructed a structure where needles, each of 80 nanometers in diameter, stand together in large numbers. They built a transistor using each needle as electrode and found the tunnel effect in the joint of the substrate and needles.
The tunnel effect made it possible to reduce the voltage required to drive the new transistor to one third of the voltage required by the existing transistor. The researchers also reduced the leakage of current during standby time. As a result, they are confident that they can reduce the power consumption of the whole circuit to less than one tenth. In addition, it is possible to reduce the circuit area to one fourth of the circuit area of the existing transistor. The tunnel effect has been attracting attention as a clue to reducing power consumption, but it was rather hard to build a transistor that applies the tunnel effect. Related information in pdf file (in Japanese)