Materials For Future Electronics


Examining the research underway in electronics materials provides a keyhole view into what may be possible in future electronics design. Although some of this research will not end up in commercial products, it does provide an indication of the kinds of problems that are being addressed, how they are being approached, and where the research dollars are being spent. Flexible electronics are a... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 7


The University of California at Santa Barbara claims to have developed the world’s smallest hammer. The technology, dubbed the μHammer or microHammer, is geared for biomedical research. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the tiny hammer will allow researchers to get a cellular-level understanding when force is applied to brain cells. The project is part of the U.S.-b... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 8


Scrap metal batteries A research team at Vanderbilt University used scraps of steel and brass - two of the most commonly discarded materials - to create a steel-brass battery that can store energy at levels comparable to lead-acid batteries while charging and discharging at rates comparable to ultra-fast charging supercapacitors. The researchers found that when scraps of steel and brass a... » read more

Silicon Photonics Comes Into Focus


Silicon photonics is attracting growing attention and investment as a companion technology to copper wiring inside of data centers, raising new questions about what comes next and when. Light has always been the ultimate standard for speed. It requires less energy to move large quantities of data, generates less heat than electricity, and it can work equally well over long or short distances... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 8


Reducing transistor switching power One of the great challenges in electronics has been to reduce power consumption during transistor switching operation. However, engineers at University of California, Santa Barbara, and Rice University demonstrated a new transistor that switches at only 0.1 volts and reduces power dissipation by over 90% compared to state-of-the-art MOSFETs. "The steepn... » read more

Tale Of Two HLS Viewpoints


The Design Automation Conference attracts several co-located conferences, symposiums and other such gathering of people, often on more specialized topics than would appeal to the general DAC attendees. Some of them are more research-focused, but one conference is somewhat strange in that it is about a subject that has transitioned to commercial tool development and yet still remains an active a... » read more

System Bits: March 24


A better band-aid UC Berkeley engineers are working on a bandage that can detect bedsores before they are visible - while recovery from them is still possible. Leveraging flexible electronics advancements, the researchers collaborated with colleagues at UC San Francisco to create their “smart bandage” that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers as th... » read more

The List Of Unknowns Grows After Silicon


As discussed earlier in this series, most proposed alternative channel schemes depend on germanium channels for pMOS transistors, and InGaAs channels for nMOS transistors. Of the two materials, InGaAs poses by far the more difficult integration challenges. Germanium has been present in advanced silicon CMOS fabs for several technology generations, having been introduced used in strained silicon... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 14


MoS2 FETs Two-dimensional materials are gaining steam in the R&D labs. The 2D materials include graphene, boron nitride (BN) and the transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). One TMD, molybdenum diselenide (MoS2), is an attractive material for use in future field-effect transistors (FETs). MoS2 has several properties, including a non-zero band gap, atomic scale thickness and pristine int... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 7


Climbing Terminator Robots Simon Fraser University has developed a family of climbing robots that mimic the stickiness of gecko lizard feet. Based on a “footpad terminator” adhesive technology, the robots could be used in space missions and on Earth. The climbing robot, called Abigaille, features six legs. This allows the robots to crawl on vertical and horizontal structures. The techno... » read more

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