Home > Research

Research Themes

The mission of LEAST is to explore the physics of new materials and devices that can lead to more energy-efficient integrated circuits and systems.

The focus of the Center's research is on ultra-low voltage and steep transistors, which are transistors that have steep transitions between their on and off state (less than 60 mV/decade of current). This research is pursued within four themes.

Theme 1:
Materials, interfaces and surfaces

Leader: Robert Wallace, University of Texas Dallas

Provides the materials understanding in the Center and focuses on fundamental challenges associated with growth, interface control, and surfaces for steep devices.


  • Oxide-based materials
  • Nitride-based materials
  • 2D crystals

Theme 2:
Quantum-engineered steep transistors

Leader: Debdeep Jena, Cornell University

Aimed at understanding and demonstrating steep slope tunneling devices in 2D graphene and dichalcogenide crystals, III-Nitrides, and complex oxides


  • Steep transistors leveraging low-dimensional systems
  • Steep transistors harnessing atomically abrupt polarization doping
  • Correlation-driven multifunctional oxide TFETs
  • Atomistic carrier transport modeling for steep devices

Theme 3:
Transduction components

Leader: Suman Datta, University of Notre Dame

Explores transduction mechanisms beyond tunneling to further lower subthreshold swing and add new functionality to steep devices


  • Steep transistors leveraging internal transduction
  • Steep devices leveraging cross-cut hybrid material integration
  • Low-voltage memory for steep devices

Theme 4:
Benchmarks, circuits, and architectures

Leader: Vijay Narayanan, Penn State University 

Provides the benchmarking activities in the Center and explores applications for steep technologies, including low-power digital logic, low-power analog, high-frequency mixed signal, security, non-von-Neumann machines, and nonBoolean computing.


  • Non von-Neumann architectures
  • Very-low-voltage microwave and mm-wave circuits
  • Secure and configurable circuit fabrics
  • Emerging technology benchmarks