Strike Up the Band (Structure)

2021-07-14T10:27:00-06:00
11/05
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Building a better computer
by Peter Dowben, Jocelyn Bosley

Scientists are working to develop electronic devices that store and process information by manipulating a property of electrons called spin—a research area aptly known as spintronics. The semiconductors we are developing will not only be faster and cheaper than those used in conventional devices, but will also have more functionality.

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Strike Up the Band (Structure)2021-07-14T10:27:00-06:00

CHASING THE MYSTERIOUS AND ELUSIVE LIGHT HOLE

2021-07-14T10:29:14-06:00
11/05
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Secrets of semiconductors

Semiconductors are materials with properties intermediate between metals and non-conducting insulators, defined by the amount of energy needed to make an electron conductive in the material. The non-conducting electrons occupy a continuum of energy states, but two of these states (the “heavy hole” and “light hole”) are nearly identical in energy. The heavy hole is easy to observe and study, but the light hole eludes most observers.

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CHASING THE MYSTERIOUS AND ELUSIVE LIGHT HOLE2021-07-14T10:29:14-06:00

How to Turn a Metal Into an Insulator

2021-07-14T10:30:43-06:00
11/05
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Locking up electrons

Solids are generally divided into metals, which conduct electricity, and insulators, which do not. Some oxides straddle this boundary, however: a material's structure and properties suggest it should be a metal, but it sometimes behaves as an insulator. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara are digging into the mechanisms of this transformation and are aiming to harness it for use in novel electronic devices.

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How to Turn a Metal Into an Insulator2021-07-14T10:30:43-06:00

Building Molecular Circuits with DNA

2021-07-14T10:31:40-06:00
11/05
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World's smallest diode

Diodes, also known as rectifiers, are a basic component of modern electronics. As we work to create smaller, more powerful and more energy-efficient electronic devices, reducing the size of diodes is a major objective. Recently, a research team from the University of Georgia developed the world's smallest diode using a single DNA molecule. This diode is so small that it cannot be seen by conventional microscopes.

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Building Molecular Circuits with DNA2021-07-14T10:31:40-06:00

Imprinting Memory in Nanomagnets by Field Cooling

2021-07-14T10:32:43-06:00
11/05
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Nanomagnetism

You may know that the media used in magnetic recording technologies, such as computer hard drives, are made of millions of tiny nanomagnets. Each nanomagnet can be switched up or down to record bits of information as ones and zeros. These media are constantly subjected to magnetic fields in order to write, read, and erase information. If you have ever placed a magnet too close to your laptop or cell phone, you know that exposure to an external magnetic field can disrupt information stored this way. Did you know that it is possible for the nanomagnets to "remember" their previous state, if carefully manipulated under specific magnetic field and temperature conditions? Using a kind of memory called topological magnetic memory, scientists have found out how to imprint memory into magnetic thin films by cooling the material under the right conditions.

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Imprinting Memory in Nanomagnets by Field Cooling2021-07-14T10:32:43-06:00

Straining for More Stable Memory

2021-07-14T10:35:44-06:00
11/05
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Magnetic anisotropy

Would you rather have data storage that is compact or reliable? Both, of course! Digital electronic devices like hard drives rely on magnetic memory to store data, encoding information as “0”s and “1”s that correspond to the direction of the magnetic moment, or spin, of atoms in individual bits of material. For magnetic memory to work, the magnetization should not change until the data is erased or rewritten. Unfortunately, some magnetic materials that are promising for high density storage have low data stability, which can be improved by squeezing or stretching the crystal structures of magnetic memory materials, enhancing a material property called magnetic anisotropy.

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Straining for More Stable Memory2021-07-14T10:35:44-06:00

A Molecular Switch

2021-07-14T10:41:34-06:00
08/10
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Tiny magnets do big work
by Guanhua (Tibbers) Hao, Peter Dowben

Think of the hard disk in your computer. Information is stored there in the form of magnetic "bits." But do you know how small a magnet can be? Some molecules make magnetic magic, and these special molecules may give rise to the ultrafast, high precision, low power devices of the future.

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A Molecular Switch2021-07-14T10:41:34-06:00

Melting and Freezing Bits and Bytes

2021-07-14T10:48:49-06:00
06/01
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Phase-change memory

In phase-change memory (PCM), nanoscale volumes of a special kind of glass compound are heated by very short electrical pulses, causing the atomic structure of the material to switch between an ordered phase and a disordered phase. These phase-change materials have been used for years to store data on rewritable CDs and DVDs, but until recently, the large energy required to change the state of the material has made it impractical for electronic memory. If this challenge can be overcome, phase-change memory can be integrated with conventional silicon electronics for high-capacity data storage and more efficient computation. Click to read more about how we are working to make this new technology a reality!

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Melting and Freezing Bits and Bytes2021-07-14T10:48:49-06:00

Bioelectricity, Reimagined

2021-07-14T10:51:40-06:00
01/23
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Electric Eel Inspires New Power Source

The electric eel's ability to generate incredibly large amounts of electric power from within its body has fascinated scientists for centuries. In fact, some of the world’s first batteries were inspired by studies of this amazing animal. Now, scientists have developed a new eel-inspired energy source that may one day be used to power electronics implanted within the human body.

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Bioelectricity, Reimagined2021-07-14T10:51:40-06:00

Using Liquid Metals to Draw Functional Circuits

2021-07-14T10:57:51-06:00
03/23
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Soft electronics

Most electronics are made out of rigid materials like silicon, but it is possible to make wires and other electronics using entirely soft and squishy materials. By utilizing liquid metal nanoparticles, we can even draw wires by hand using light pressure from a magic marker to squish the particles together.

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Using Liquid Metals to Draw Functional Circuits2021-07-14T10:57:51-06:00
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