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Phase-change breakthrough could transform memory media

May 3, 2012 12:00 pm | News | Comments

By using diamond-tipped tools to apply pressure, a team led by Johns Hopkins engineers has discovered some previously unknown electrical properties of a common memory material, a mix of germanium, antimony, and tellurium called GST. The discovery should make GST more useful for electronics developers by allowing memory formats that retain data more quickly, last longer, and allow far more capacity.

New method IDs nanomaterials that can cause oxidative damage to cells

May 2, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

University of California, Los Angeles researchers and their colleagues have developed a novel screening technology that allows large batches of metal-oxide nanomaterials to be assessed quickly, based on their ability to trigger certain biological responses in cells as a result of their semiconductor properties.

Composite collaboration leads to faster plastic electronics

May 2, 2012 3:44 am | News | Comments

Scientists from Imperial College London have collaborated with colleagues at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia to produce organic thin-film transistors that consistently achieve record-breaking carrier mobility through careful solution-processing of a blend of two organic semiconductors.

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Researchers discover new graphene-based material

April 16, 2012 12:15 pm | by Laura L. Hunt | News | Comments

While investigating the behavior of a hybrid nanomaterial made from carbon nanotubes and tin oxide nanoparticles, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee scientists synthesized an entirely new graphene-based material they are calling graphene monoxide. The notable feature of the material, which does not exist in nature, is its ordered, semiconducting properties.

Micromechanical mirror performs under pressure of light

April 10, 2012 2:22 pm | News | Comments

In optomechanics studies, most researchers use a moving mirror made up of 16 to 40 layers of dielectric film with different indices of refraction, culminating in a stack structure a few micrometers thick. With this they measure the force of light on mechanical features. A team of scientists in Germany, however, have designed and tested a device that is both smaller and two orders of magnitude more effective.

Honeycombs of nanomagnets could lead to new type of computer processing

April 2, 2012 5:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers in the U.K. have demonstrated that a honeycomb pattern of nano-sized magnets, in a material known as spin ice, introduces competition between neighboring magnets, and reduces the problems caused by these interactions by two-thirds. Large arrays of these nano-magnets, they say, can store computable information.

Chemist reveals transparent, flexible memory

March 28, 2012 7:23 am | News | Comments

At this week’s American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego, Rice University chemist James Tour revealed a new device his laboratory has invented. Using silicon oxide as the active component, his team has made a transparent, flexible memory technology that could be combined with other see-through components such as integrated circuits and batteries.

Integrated silicon laser offers big efficiency jump

March 28, 2012 7:16 am | News | Comments

Previous efforts to integrated lasers in silicon chips have relied on and air-and-semiconductor interface, but this has resulted in poor emission efficiency. Researchers in Singapore have invented a solution called a micro-loop mirror that acts as a waveguide to improve operation to 98% light reflection efficiency.

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More energy-efficient transistors through quantum tunneling

March 26, 2012 11:31 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame and Pennsylvania State University have announced breakthroughs in the development of tunneling field effect transistors (TFETs), a semiconductor technology that takes advantage of the quirky behavior of electrons at the quantum level.

Qubits generated in semiconductors for the first time

March 22, 2012 4:53 am | News | Comments

So far, quantum bits have only existed in relatively large vacuum chambers. A research team in Germany, with help from colleagues in Japan and France, has now generated them in a high-quality gallium arsenide crystal.

Researchers invent material that could transform flat screen TV

March 21, 2012 11:19 am | News | Comments

Researchers at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based in Trinity College Dublin, have discovered a new material could fill a previously missing component in display electronics—a good quality p-type transparent conducting oxide.

Diamond brightens the performance of electronic devices

March 13, 2012 4:13 am | News | Comments

While diamonds may be a girl's best friend, they're also well loved by scientists working to enhance the performance of electronic devices. Two new studies performed at Argonne National Laboratory have revealed a new pathway for materials scientists to use previously unexplored properties of nanocrystalline-diamond thin films.

MRAM invention could give spintronics a boost

March 7, 2012 10:29 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Helmholtz Center in Germany have developed a magnetic valve that could be an enabling technology for spintronics. The new structure allows for data to remain stored even after electric current has been cut, and memory in the valve can be re-written indefinitely.

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Transistors promise more powerful logic, more logical power

March 7, 2012 3:01 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Broadly speaking, the two major areas of research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Microsystems Technology Laboratory are electronics—transistors in particular—and microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS—tiny mechanical devices with moving parts. Both strains of research could have significant implications for manufacturing in the United States, but at least for the moment, the market for transistor innovation is far larger.

The fickleness of the silicon-drift detector

March 2, 2012 7:06 am | News | Comments

Although the tiny device measures no more than 8 x 8 mm it takes eight weeks to produce a silicon drift detector (SDD), or silicon drift diode, which is a basic spectroscopic component of instruments like medical X-ray systems and detectors at CERN. Scientists in Norway represent one of just three worldwide suppliers of these exceedingly sensitive and difficult-to-produce devices.

Engineers build an electrical switch for magnetic current

March 1, 2012 3:15 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have put together a sandwich of a ferroelectric layer between two ferromagnetic materials that responded to a short electric pulse. This changes the magnetic transport properties of the material in such a way that information can be placed in four states instead of just two. The potential increase in storage density is great.

IBM captures first-ever image of single-molecule charge distribution

February 28, 2012 3:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists using a variant of atomic force microscopy called Kelvin probe force microscopy, at low temperatures and in ultrahigh vacuum, have recently obtained the first image of the charge distribution within a single molecule. The molecule is the same as the type used in IBM’s single-molecule logic switch.

Solution found to spintronics mystery

February 27, 2012 4:52 pm | by Lynn Yarris | News | Comments

A long-standing controversy regarding the semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide, one of the most promising materials for spintronic technology, looks to have been resolved. Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Notre Dame University found the that the spintronic properties do not arise from a valence energy band, as many scientists have argued.

Engineers achieve major band gap improvement for metal oxides

February 21, 2012 11:38 am | News | Comments

Complex transition metal oxides have for years held great promise for information and energy applications, but reducing the band gaps of these insulators without hurting performance has been a major challenge. A recent layer-by-layer growth method pioneered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has achieved a 30% reduction in this band gap, a significant improvement.

One and done: Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law

February 21, 2012 2:59 am | News | Comments

The smallest transistor ever built—in fact, the smallest transistor that can be built—has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University, and the University of Melbourne.

R & D in the 1970s

February 15, 2012 6:30 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

As integrated circuits and environmentally friendly technologies emerged, R&D 100 Award winners set the pace.

World’s first 300-mm self-assembly process line debuts

February 12, 2012 5:21 pm | News | Comments

At this week's SPIE Advanced Lithography conference in San Jose, Calif., imec plans to announce the successful implementation of the world's first 300-mm fab-compatible directed self-assembly process line all under one roof.

Nanomanufacturing gets wear-resistant carbide tip

February 10, 2012 1:48 pm | News | Comments

Engineers at two universities and IBM Research’s Zurich, Switzerland, R&D center have developed an ultrasharp silicon carbide tip that is 10,000 times more wear resistant than previous than previous designs and 100,000 times smaller than the tip of a pencil.

Cadence, Samsung Foundry join on nanoscale DFM chip solutions

February 8, 2012 9:56 am | News | Comments

Working together, Cadence Design Systems and Samsung Foundry have developed design-for-manufacturing work flows to tackle physical signoff and electrical variability optimization for 32- and 28-nm system-on-a-chip designs. Now, they extended advanced DFM flow to 20 nm as well.

Scientists manipulate magnetism without heating material

January 31, 2012 11:13 am | by Mike Ross, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

Although of purely scientific interest for now, a method that researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented to alter magnetic properties in manganese-oxide materials without heating them up could greatly speed up low-voltage, non-volatile computer memory.

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