The central device of this thesis is the transistor. It acts like a faucet, but then for electric charge. There is a connection that is called the source, just like the water company. And the charge flows into the drain. Finally there is a handle, here called the gate, to control the flow of charge.
The transistor is not an ideal faucet for electrons. For example, even when the gate is closed a very small current of electric charge flows through the device. This is the leakage current. In many modern electronics integrated circuits are used which may contain more than a billion of these transistors. Even if only a small leakage current flows through each of these transistors this may sum up to an altogether large leakage current. This leakage current is responsible for the static, or standby, power consumption
of integrated circuits. Nowadays this static power is becoming one of the major energy consumers in integrated circuits.
One way to reduce the static power consumption the use of transistors that have an equal maximum flow of current, however, a smaller leakage current. This is the aim of the so-called small subthreshold swing transistors.