There’s an increasing trend to start producing gadgets that are getting thinner and thinner with each generation. Droid RAZR unveiled by motorola, which is based on the legacy of the RAZR feature phone, will most probably end up being one of the thinnest smartphones to date. But how much smaller/thinner could we make our devices? Well if the scientists at Northwestern University manage to commercialize their new material, perhaps it won’t be too long.

Scientists at Northwestern University decided to look at the problem of teeny-tiny circuits in ever-shrinking electronic devices in a new way, by coming up with a material that can be a resistor, a rectifier, a diode or a transistor depending on signals from a computer.

“Our new steering technology allows use to direct current flow through a piece of continuous material,” said Bartosz A Grzybowski, the top brain on the research. “Like redirecting a river, streams of electrons can be steered in multiple directions through a block of the material – even multiple streams flowing in opposing directions at the same time.”

The researchers put together some silicon-based and some polymer-based circuits to come up with nanoparticle-based electronics.

 The scientists have managed to develop a new nanoscale material that they claim will have the potential to allow computers to rewire themselves based on the user’s needs. For example chips could rewire themselves into a resistor, a rectifier, a diode, or a transistor, all of which are dependent on what the user or computer needs at the moment.

Basically, they’ve created circuitry that can rewire itself in the lab. Harnessed for consumer electronics, this technology could enable a new breed of computers that are always optimized for the task at hand.

 The nanoparticle-based electronics work by basically creating new and fluid ways of steering the flow of electrons through a material. Rather than being static, the particles in the material can be rearranged to create varying degrees of resistance, conductivity, or whatever the system needs at a given time, even creating multiple streams of electrons flowing in different directions at the same time through the same material.

This is all made possible by a few tiny, five-nanometer-wide electrically conductive particles coated in a positively charged chemical all immersed in a pool of negatively charged atoms. Signals from a computer can then move the negatively charged atoms around, creating regions of high or low conductivity that dictate where and how electrons will naturally find a path through the material. Once an electron path is no longer needed, it can scrubbed from the system by simply reconfiguring the negatively charged atoms in a different way. In doing this, the computer can basically conjure different electrical components–diodes or resistors or switches or what have you–on demand.

The result of all that could be computers that can quickly adapt to whatever task they are performing at that particular moment, making high-powered computing–or even the common tasks performed by a smartphone-far more efficient. Based on this, it appears that the goal here is to reduce the amount of components needed in our devices, some of which may or may not be used often. By allowing the chip to rewire itself, less parts will be needed thus resulting in our devices in the future to have the potential of being thinner or smaller.

Source:www.theregister.co.uk,popsci.com,ubergizmo.com

Posted By
Sumanth(MGIT  2nd Year)
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