Heat generation and transport in nanometer-scale transistors

Eric Pop, Sanjiv Sinha, Kenneth E. Goodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As transistor gate lengths are scaled towards the 10-nm range, thermal device design is becoming an important part of microprocessor engineering. Decreasing dimensions lead to nanometer-scale hot spots in the transistor drain region, which may increase the drain series and source injection electrical resistances. Such trends are accelerated by the introduction of novel materials and nontraditional transistor geometries, including ultrathin body, FinFET, or nanowire devices, which impede heat conduction. Thermal analysis is complicated by subcontinuum phenomena including ballistic electron transport, which reshapes the heat generation region compared with classical diffusion theory predictions. Ballistic phonon transport from the hot spot and between material boundaries impedes conduction cooling. The increased surface to volume ratio of novel transistor designs also leads to a larger contribution from material boundary thermal resistance. This paper surveys trends in transistor geometries and materials, from bulk silicon to carbon nanotubes, along with their implications for the thermal design of electronic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1601
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Ballistic
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Germanium-on-insulator (GOI)
  • Heat generation
  • Monte Carlo
  • Nonequilibrium
  • Phonon
  • Power density
  • Scaling
  • Silicon-on-insulator (SOI)
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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