Archive for the ‘Electronics’ Category

Graphene “Big Mac” Sandwich May Replace Silicon Chips

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

“The world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, discovered in 2004 at the University of Manchester by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, has the potential to revolutionize material science.

Demonstrating the remarkable properties of graphene won the two scientists the Nobel Prize for Physics last year and UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has just announced plans for a £50m graphene research hub to be set up.

Now, writing in the journal Nature Physics, the University of Manchester team have for the first time demonstrated how graphene inside electronic circuits will probably look like in the future.

By sandwiching two sheets of graphene with another two-dimensional material, boron nitrate, the team created the graphene ‘Big Mac’ – a four-layered structure which could be the key to replacing the silicon chip in computers.

Because there are two layers of graphene completed surrounded by the boron nitrate, this has allowed the researchers for the first time to observe how graphene behaves when unaffected by the environment.”

Dip in Carbon Nanotubes Improve Batteries, Ultracapacitors

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Scanning electron microscope images show the surface of nanostructured graphene-manganese oxide electrodes covered with conductive carbon nanotubes (top) and a polymer (bottom).Credit: Nano Letters

“A simple trick could improve the ability of advanced ultracapacitors, or supercapacitors,  to store charge.

The technique, developed by Stanford University researchers, could enable the use of new types of nanostructured electrode materials that store more energy.

While ultracapacitors provide quick bursts of power and can be recharged many more times than batteries without losing their storage capacity, they can store only a 10th as much energy as batteries, which limits their applications.

To improve their energy density, researchers have focused on the use of electrode materials with greater surface area—such as graphene and carbon nanotubes—which can hold more charge-carrying ions.

The Stanford team, led by Yi Cui and Zhenan Bao, used composite electrodes made of graphene and manganese oxide.

Manganese oxide is considered an attractive electrode material because, “one, manganese is abundant so it’s very low cost,” Cui says. “It also has high theoretical capacity to store ions for supercapacitors.””

Plastic “Magic Carpet” Created – Inspired By Indian-Origin Scientist

October 1, 2011 Leave a comment

“A miniature magic carpet made of plastic has taken flight in a laboratory at Princeton University.

The 10cm (4in) sheet of smart transparency is driven by “ripple power”; waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to rear underneath.

The prototype, described in Applied Physics Letters, moves at speeds of about a centimetre per second.

Improvements to the design could raise that to as much as a metre per second.

The device’s creator, graduate student Noah Jafferis, says he was inspired by a mathematical paper he read shortly after starting his PhD studies at Princeton…

Harvard University’s Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, who wrote the 2007 paper in Physical Review Letters that inspired the whole project, expressed a mixture of surprise and delight at the Princeton team’s success.”

Laser That Can “Listen” and Detect Bombs

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

“A research team at Michigan State University has developed a laser that could detect roadside bombs – the deadliest enemy weapon encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The laser, which has comparable output to a simple presentation pointer, potentially has the sensitivity and selectivity to canvas large areas and detect improvised explosive devices – weapons that account for around 60 percent of coalition soldiers’ deaths.

Marcos Dantus, chemistry professor and founder of BioPhotonic Solutions, led the team and has published the results in the current issue of Applied Physics Letters…

The laser beam combines short pulses that kick the molecules and make them vibrate, as well as long pulses that are used to “listen” and identify the different “chords”.

The chords include different vibrational frequencies that uniquely identify every molecule, much like a fingerprint. The high-sensitivity laser can work in tandem with cameras and allows users to scan questionable areas from a safe distance.”

Microspiders Will Swim In Bloodstream To Deliver Drugs

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

“Scientists at Penn State would like to release tiny spiders into your blood — no, it’s not the premise for a new horror movie, but rather, it’s a medical breakthrough.

The spider-like machines are less than a micrometer wide (just so you know, a red blood cell is around six to ten micrometers), and are designed to travel through veins delivering drugs and a little TLC to damaged areas — not a totally new concept, per se, but even minor advancements can open up all sorts of new doors for troubled patients.

Made of half gold, half silica, these microspiders are self-propelled by a molecule called the Grubbs catalyst, which scientists can control directionally using chemicals.”

Electric Motor Created Out Of A Single Molecule

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“For the first time, an electric motor has been made from a single molecule. At 1 nanometre long, that makes the organic compound the smallest electric motor ever.

Its creators plan to submit their design to Guinness World Records, but the teeny motor could also have practical applications, such as pushing fluid through narrow pipes in “lab-on-a-chip” devices.

Molecules have previously converted energy from light and chemical reactions into directed motion like rolling or flapping. Electricity has also set an oxygen molecule spinning randomly. But controlled, electrically-driven motion – necessary for a device to be classed as a motor – had not yet been observed in a single molecule.

To address this, E. Charles Sykes at Tufts University in Boston and colleagues turned to asymmetric butyl methyl sulphide, a sulphur atom with a chain of four carbons on one side and a lone carbon atom on the other. They anchored the molecule to a copper surface via the sulphur atom, producing a lopsided, horizontal “propeller” that is free to rotate about the vertical copper-sulphur bond (see diagram).”

IBM Plans To Glue Microchips Into Stacks Inside Processors

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“3D hype is fast wearing out its welcome, but there’s at least one area of industry where the buzzed about term could usher in true innovation.

Announced today as a joint research project, IBM and 3M will work towards the creation of a new breed of microprocessors.

Unlike similar three-dimensional semiconductor efforts by Intel, the two newly partnered outfits plan to stack up to 100 layers of chips atop one another resulting in a microchip “brick.”

Under the agreement, IBM will contribute its expertise on packaging the new processors, while 3M will get to work developing an adhesive that can not only be applied in batches, but’ll also allow for heat transfer without crippling logic circuitry.”

The Best Remote Control For Your TV – Your Mind!

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“The remote control revolutionized the way we watch television, doing away with the need for frequent trips to the set in order to change channels.

One prototype in Haier’s portfolio makes the whole remote thing look like a back breaking chore by comparison.

The Brain Wave (definitely not a final product name) television protoype showcased at IFA this week brings mind control into the picture, promising users a future where channels can be changed and volume controlled with mere thought.”

Bugbot. Half-Insect, Half-Machine.

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

A piezoelectric beam attached to a Green June Beetle reveals the optimum location to scavenge energy and shows that up to 115 µW total power can be generated from the insect’s body movements. Image credit: Aktakka, et al.


“For many years, researchers have been working on designing and fabricating micro-air-vehicles (MAVs), flying robots the size of small insects.

But after realizing how difficult it is to create a tiny, lightweight flying vehicle capable of carrying a payload and being powered by a long-life onboard power source, some researchers have recently stopped trying to copy real-life insects and started using the insects themselves, with a few small tweaks.

For instance, using tiny stimulators near their antennae, electrodes implanted in their central nervous systems, or neuromuscular interfaces, researchers have found that it’s easier to control insect’s brains – and therefore, flight – than to build robotic insects from scratch.”

Stretch This OLED Display!

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

“Stretchable electronics promise video displays that could be rolled up and tucked into a shirt pocket, or cell phones that could swell or shrink. Electronic sheets that could be draped like cloth would be a boon for robotic skin and embedded medical devices.

Now engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have taken a step toward these handy electronics by creating the first fully stretchable organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Previously, researchers had only been able to create devices that are bendable but can’t stretch, or stretchable pieces that connect smaller, rigid LEDs…

To make their device entirely pliable, the UCLA researchers devised a novel way of creating a carbon nanotube and polymer electrode and layering it onto a stretchable, light-emitting plastic.

To make the blended electrode, the team coated carbon nanotubes onto a glass backing and added a liquid polymer that becomes solid yet stretchable when exposed to ultraviolet light. The polymer diffuses throughout the carbon nanotube network and dries to a flexible plastic that completely surrounds the network rather than just resting alongside it. Peeling the polymer-and-carbon-nanotube mix off of the glass yields a smooth, stretchable, transparent electrode.”