Power/Performance Bits: April 26


An on-chip light source Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) demonstrated that carbon nanotubes are suited for use as an on-chip light source. By integrating tiny carbon nanotubes into a nanostructured waveguide, the team developed a compact miniaturized switching element that converts electric signals into clearly defined optical signals. "The nanostructures act lik... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 16


Energy storage on microchips After more than half a decade of speculation, fabrication, modeling and testing, an international team of researchers from Drexel University in Pennsylvania and Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, confirmed that their process for making carbon films and micro-supercapacitors will allow microchips and their power sources to become one and the same. Si... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Nov. 3


World’s fastest phototransistor The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed what the university claims is the world’s fastest and most responsive flexible silicon phototransistor. Phototransistors are semiconductor light sensors. They are based on a transistor with a transparent cover. They provide better sensitivity than a photodiode. The futuristic phototransistor from the Un... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 1


Growing graphene nanoribbons University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers discovered a way to grow graphene nanoribbons with desirable semiconducting properties directly on a conventional germanium semiconductor wafer. This could allow manufacturers to easily use graphene nanoribbons in hybrid integrated circuits, which promise to significantly boost the performance of next-generation electroni... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 7


Direct solar energy storage Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. To accomplish this, traditional solar panels can be used to generate an electrical current that splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter being considered a form of solar fuel. However, the cost of producing efficient solar panels makes wate... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 30


Tiny, solar-powered sensors Last week, at the Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, MIT researchers presented a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous ultralow-power converters that used the same approach had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 2


Printing RF antennas with graphene ink Researchers from the University of Manchester, together with BGT Materials Limited, a graphene manufacturer in the United Kingdom, printed a radio frequency antenna using compressed graphene ink. The antenna performed well enough to make it practical for use in RFID tags and wireless sensors, the researchers said. Even better, the antenna is flexible, e... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: April 14


Elastic energy harvesting Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Seoul National University collaborated to develop a hyper-stretchable elastic-composite energy harvesting device. Their stretchable piezoelectric generator can harvest mechanical energy to produce a ~4V power output with around 250% elasticity and a durability over 104 cycles. The... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 7


Towards spin-based computing It’s a given that semiconductors process electrical information, while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage. Along these lines, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material that they believe could pave the way for new ultrahigh den... » read more

System Bits: April 1


“Lock-free” vs. “wait-free” parallel algorithms Since computer chips have stopped getting faster, regular performance improvements are now the result of chipmakers’ adding more cores to their chips, rather than increasing their clock speed. And in theory, doubling the number of cores doubles the chip’s efficiency, but splitting up computations so that they run efficiently in parall... » read more

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