PORTLAND, Ore. — How would you like your smartphone battery's charge to last a week instead of a day? I suspect that the answer is an overwhelming "yes."
That's the promise being made by Carbonics Inc. of Marina del Ray, a seaside community near Los Angeles.
"Just scaling semiconductor technologies is holding back the devices of the future," Carbonics CEO Kos Galatsis told us. "Semiconductors need new materials and designs to improve the user experience."
Unfortunately, it won't happen overnight, or even in one step. However, by switching from silicon to carbon-based semiconductors, he said, weeklong battery lifetimes for smartphones are just around the corner.
The carbon nanotube RF transistor channel lies beneath the T-shaped gate, offering higher electron mobility and generating less heat.
Right now the display is the biggest drain on the battery, but next on the list are the multiple RF transistors and front ends that permit a single smartphone to operate on the diverse bands used the world over. Carbonics plans to offer a single RF transceiver with such a wide bandwidth that you need only one to generate all the RF frequencies needed by a cellphone, now and in the future. For instance, beyond 4G LTE running at 2 GHz, the same Carbonics RF transistor can run at WiGig frequencies (60 GHz) and even at advanced imaging frequencies (more than 100 GHz) for biometric security applications.
"Carbonics is currently fabricating RF transistor prototypes to customer specifications, with products scheduled for manufacturing via foundry partners in the second half of 2015," Galatsis said.
Fueled by research being conducted at University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California, RF transistors are only the beginning for Carbonics. It aims to employ carbon nanomaterials to improve the performance and power consumption of a variety of semiconductor devices. The effort is being backed by $5.5 million of capital from the Saudi investment firm Tania International.
Microscopic view of the carbon nanotube RF transistor channel.
High-speed communications applications are being driven today by HD video, VoIP, big-data analytics, and interactive gaming, according to Carbonics. It aims to respond with higher-speed mobile handset broadband and faster satellite communications for consumers, as well as faster wireless backhaul for infrastructure, defense applications, and emerging markets such as wearables.
Carbonics says that, in addition to higher data rates, its RF transistors deliver improved signal quality, lower noise, higher linearity, and less power consumption.
In addition to Tania, the Semiconductor Research Corp. is participating in the growth of Carbonics.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times