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Energy barriers, demons, and minimum energy operation of electronic devices
Author(s): Ralph K. Cavin; Victor V. Zhirnov; James A. Hutchby; George I. Bourianoff
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Paper Abstract

The presence of thermal noise dictates that an energy barrier is needed to preserve a binary state. Therefore, all electronic devices contain at least one energy barrier to control electron flow. The barrier properties, such as height, length, and shape determine the operating characteristics of electronic devices. Furthermore, changes in the barrier shape require changes in charge density/distribution. Operation of all charge transport devices includes charging/discharging capacitances to change barrier height. In this paper we analyze energy dissipation for several schemes of charging capacitors. A basic assumption of Reversible Computing is that the computing system is completely isolated from the thermal bath, i. e., phonons are not coupled to the motion of the information-bearing particle. An isolated system is a mathematical abstraction never perfectly realized in practice. Coupling of the system to the rest of the world results in thermal noise and errors due to thermal excitations are equivalent to information erasure, and thus computation dissipates energy. Another source of energy dissipation is due to the need of measurement and control. To analyze this side of the problem, the Maxwell’s Demon is a useful abstraction. Proposals for “adiabatic circuits” do not make attempts to isolate the system from the thermal bath, hence the circuits cannot be reversible. We hold that apparent “energy savings” in models of adiabatic circuits result from neglecting the total energy needed by other parts of the system to implement the circuit. We are not aware of convincing experimental evidences that adiabatic circuits save wall-plug energy.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 May 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5844, Noise in Devices and Circuits III, (23 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.613118
Show Author Affiliations
Ralph K. Cavin, Semiconductor Research Corp. (United States)
Victor V. Zhirnov, Semiconductor Research Corp. (United States)
James A. Hutchby, Semiconductor Research Corp. (United States)
George I. Bourianoff, Semiconductor Research Corp. (United States)
Intel Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5844:
Noise in Devices and Circuits III
Alexander A. Balandin; Francois Danneville; M. Jamal Deen; Daniel M. Fleetwood, Editor(s)

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