System Bits: Dec. 15


Building chips skyscraper style With the aim of boosting electronic performance by factor of a thousand, a team of researchers led by Stanford University engineers have created a skyscraper-like chip design, based on materials more advanced than silicon. For many years, computer systems have been designed with processors and memory chips laid out like single-story structures in a suburb whe... » read more

System Bits: Jan. 6


Quantum channel of light In experiments using ultracold atoms and laser light, ETH researchers have measured a stepwise change in conductivity as the atoms pass through tiny structures. This is the first time that this quantum effect has been observed for electrically neutral particles. [caption id="attachment_16993" align="alignnone" width="300"] A point contact through which neutral, ultr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 13


More electricity out of solar cells When sunlight shines on today’s solar cells, much of the incoming energy is given off as waste heat rather than electrical current but in a few materials, extra energy produces extra electrons. According to researchers at MIT, this behavior could significantly increase solar-cell efficiency. The team has identified the mechanism by which the phenomenon ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 9


All-optical transistor Optical computing uses light rather than electricity to perform calculations and is expected to potentially pay dividends for both conventional computers and quantum computers, which are largely hypothetical devices that could perform some types of computations exponentially faster than classical computers. One drawback is that optical computing requires light particl... » read more