Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Architects of nanoworld behind the screens

Date:
November 29, 2013
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
New types of building blocks for electronics will be the future, that is clear. Molecules can already be given the functionality of a transistor. But compared to the huge complexity of current chips, with eight or nine ‘highways’ above each other, connecting all elements is still impossible. Silicon research and industry has shown an immense effort, and progress is being made.

New types of building blocks for electronics will be the future, that is clear for researcher Nauta. "It is already possible to give a molecule the functionality of a transistor. But compare that to the huge complexity of current chips, with eight or nine 'highways' above each other, connecting all elements. How to reach this using these new molecules? There's still a huge gap there. Silicon research and industry has shown an immense effort, that's still going on for some time." Nauta stresses that current chips like microprocessors already contain billions of transistor with sizes in the nanometer domain. Microelectronics had become nanoelectronics already. "They are so small, around 22 nanometer, that you can count the individual atoms."

Not self-evident at all

In his lecture 'The invisible circuit', Nauta asks his audience to imagine a world without chips. "If we wouldn't have chips in our daily life, suddenly a lot of things like social media and internet, aren't possible anymore. That would really mean 'back to the fifties'." That is: almost back to the time the very first transistor was invented, in 1947. Still, we take it for granted whenever there is a new generation of smartphones, tablets or other gadgets in the shops. "This is not self-evident at all. This requires top research and huge investments in new chip factories." Nauta's own group, one of the world's leading groups in chip design, delivered several inventions that found their way to smart phones and TV's. A well-known example is their noise-cancelling circuit that surprised the semiconductor world at first, but is a textbook example by now.

Cognitive radio

Nauta specializes in circuits translating the analogue outside world into the digital inside of the smartphone: the part of the circuitry taking care of transmitting and receiving, or 'radio'. Complexity is growing rapidly there: with more and more mobile standards, a good quality has to be guaranteed with low noise, and if possible, using less energy. And all that on the tiniest possible silicon surface. "For each standard, you would need a separate filter. But that would take far too much surface. We now develop a filter that is tunable and can be integrated on-chip. That's a development the whole world is looking at, because integration of conventional filters is almost impossible. Within five years, it will be commercially available." This new type of filter would also be the candidate for new radio techniques employing every free part of the frequency spectrum, so-called cognitive radio.

Even if Moore's Law, that predicts a doubling of the amount of components on every square millimeter of silicon every two years, comes to a halt due to physical limits, a creative designer still has years to go, according to Nauta. These physical limits have been pushed for decades now: as long as it is viable economically, industry will keep investing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Architects of nanoworld behind the screens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131129101757.htm>.
University of Twente. (2013, November 29). Architects of nanoworld behind the screens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131129101757.htm
University of Twente. "Architects of nanoworld behind the screens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131129101757.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins