Nanomaterial May Replace Circuits, Allow For On-The-Fly Etchless Rewiring Of Electronics
Nick Gilbert
at 11:47 AM 17 Oct 2020
Comments 0
Might not be too long before these are a thing of the past
IMAGE BY ReillyButler,, Creative Commons

You know you're in the future when people start talking about electronics that can rewire themselves on the fly. A team at Northwester University in the United States have developed a new nanomaterial that can move and redirect electrons through itself, which, while not quite allowing your phone to transform into a laptop at a moment's notice, still may open a door to adaptable electronics.

The traditional problem with nanoelectronics is one of quantum mechanics - once you reduce the size of physical materials to a certain level, they begin to lose their regular properties and instead adopt quantum properties. These are often quite difficult to predict, which is not the sort of thing most people are looking for in electronic circuitry.

This new material, on the other hand, doesn't require an etched circuit, as the electrons move directly through the material. Specific pulses from, say, a computer, can move the electrons into specific orientations.

As study co-author David Walker says,"Besides acting as three-dimensional bridges between existing technologies, the reversible nature of this new material could allow a computer to redirect and adapt its own circuitry to what is required at a specific moment in time."

The material itself is composed of electrically conducted particles of five nanometres in width.

The particles themselves are coated in a positively charged chemical, and then surrounded by much smaller, negatively charged atoms. These negative particles can be moved by an electrical current, leaving the larger positive particles stationary and intact.

"Like redirecting a river, streams of electrons can be steered in multiple directions through a block of the material," says study lead Professor Bartosz Grzybowski. "Even multiple streams flowing in opposing directions at the same time."

Which sounds promising, but we'll hold our collective breath until our phones can transform into computers. Oh wait.

[via PhysOrg]


Leave a comment

Please provide your details to leave a comment.

The fields marked with (*) are required.

Display Name: *
Email *:
Comments *:
(Max 1000 characters)

(letters are not case-sensitive)

Enter the text in the image above