Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Electronic miniaturization through nanotechnology

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It is well-known that the miniaturization of electronic components is one of the objectives of this industry, often imposed by market demands. Some still remember the space that the first computers occupied or the size of a 5 and 1 / 4” diskette and its storage capacity or the size and performance of the first mobile. People called the first laptops “portable” in a quite generous way, as they were more portable than laptops with a significant effort by the carrier.

Undoubtedly, the amount of miniaturization and performance, as well as the diversity of electronic devices, has advanced considerably in recent decades. The current situation in this area could change dramatically thanks to two recent researches.

The first of these investigations concerns the miniaturization of transistors, which are the main component of these days’ electronics. The University of Pittsburgh has developed very small transistors. This technology could develop devices for high-density memory. Researchers have created a nanoscale one-stop shop, a platform to create a very close to the atom electronic scale.

In March 2008, authorities announced that their process of swapping insulators and conductors works like a microscopic Etch A. SketchTM. Using the sharp conducting probe of an atomic force microscope, created less than 4 nanometers wide cables at the interface of strontium titanate and a 1.2 nm thick layer of lanthanum aluminates, both insulators. A reverse voltage or light can erase the nanowires drivers, reverting the interface into an insulator again.

In their latest work, the authors show that the potential of the process discussed can be adapted to specific uses beyond simple conductors and insulators, applying this technique to the realization of field-effect transistors (FET). Using the technique developed they created a transistor, which they called “SketchFET”. It has characteristic sizes of only two nanometers, which is considerably smaller than the most advanced silicon transistors, which measures are about 45 nanometers and that are miniaturalizables with difficulty, according to the authors.

In addition, other devices such as high-density memories, wired or chemical sensors that could compete with ultrasensitive detectors made with carbon nanotubes can remove at will the transistor “SketchFET”.

Furthermore, a research work developed at the University of Massachusetts has created a thin film capable of storing information of 250 DVD on a coin-sized surface. Three points of nanometers in equidistant size from each other forms the film; they are distributed with a density of 10 terabits per square inch.

For over a decade, Scientifics tried to exploit the property that the molecules in the thin film of block copolymers, which are two or more polymer chains chemically different from each other, that self-assemble in a extremely precise and equidistant pattern when it extends over a surface.

The solution adopted by those responsible for the investigation was to overlay the block copolymers film on the surface of a sapphire crystal. When the crystal is cut at an angle and is heated from 1300 to 1500 degrees centigrade for 24 hours, its surface is reorganized in a very orderly pattern in saw tooth ridges that can be used to guide self-assembly of block copolymers.

According to the authors, there are few length limitations in block copolymers production as there are different-sized crystals. Moreover, you can change the pattern obtained by changing the angle and depth of the saw tooth. The variation happens when the crystal temperature increases.

If these technologies obtain the so promising results that its authors say, maybe in a short space of time we have on our hands an all-in-one device in a space similar to a credit card created to replace the mobile, the laptop and other electronic gadgets that we use today. Will it be the end of briefcases for laptops?

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February 26, 2009 - Posted by | Nano News, Nanoelectronics

1 Comment »

  1. […] Here is the original: Electronic miniaturization through nanotechnology « Nano Bugle […]

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