by Nancy Owano @ phys.org:
Thumb-size vacuum tubes that amplified signals in radio and television sets in the first half of the 20th century might seem nothing like the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) that dazzle us with their capabilities in today’s digital electronics, say two scientists, but it might be time for fresh thinking about vacuum tubes and even some mashing-up for surprising results. Jin-Woo Han, research scientist, and Meyya Meyyappan, chief scientist for exploration technology, at NASA Ames Research Center in California, wrote an article that appeared in IEEE Spectrum on Monday, which details their explorations of a vacuum channel transistor. Their article indicates “vacuum channel transistor” is a phrase to watch in the context of what’s next in transistor technology. The what’s-next conversation is certainly one that continues.
Scientists explore mash-up of vacuum tube and MOSFET - [Link]
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of a receiver circuit capable of receiving communications at 56 Gbps. This marks the world’s fastest data communications between CPUs equipped in next-generation servers. In recent years, raising data-processing speeds in servers has meant increasing CPU performance, together with boosting the speed of data communications between chips, such as CPUs. However, one obstacle to this has been improving the performance of the circuits that correct degraded waveforms in incoming signals. Fujitsu Laboratories has used a new “look-ahead” architecture in the circuit that compensates for quality degradation in incoming signals, parallelizing the processing and increasing the operating frequency for the circuit in order to double its speed. This technology holds the promise of increasing the performance of next-generation servers and supercomputers.
Record-breaking 56 gbps receiver circuit for communications between CPUs - [Link]
Science Daily posted about this breakthrough in superconductors on their site.
A world record that has stood for more than a decade has been broken by a team led by University of Cambridge engineers, harnessing the equivalent of three tonnes of force inside a golf ball-sized sample of material that is normally as brittle as fine china.
The Cambridge researchers managed to ‘trap’ a magnetic field with a strength of 17.6 Tesla — roughly 100 times stronger than the field generated by a typical fridge magnet — in a high temperature gadolinium barium copper oxide (GdBaCuO) superconductor, beating the previous record by 0.4 Tesla. The results are published today in the journal Superconductor Science and Technology.
The research demonstrates the potential of high-temperature superconductors for applications in a range of fields, including flywheels for energy storage, ‘magnetic separators’, which can be used in mineral refinement and pollution control, and in high-speed levitating monorail trains.
Superconductors are materials that carry electrical current with little or no resistance when cooled below a certain temperature. While conventional superconductors need to be cooled close to absolute zero (zero degrees on the Kelvin scale (or -273 °C) before they superconduct, high temperature superconductors do so above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (-196 °C) which makes them relatively easy to cool and cheaper to operate.
New superconductor world record set - [Link]
By Dario Borghino:
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a silicon anode that would allow us to charge lithium-ion batteries up to 16 times faster than is currently possible. The new design relies on a three-dimensional, cone-shaped cluster of carbon nanotubes that could also result in batteries that hold about 60 percent more charge while being 40 percent lighter.
New li-ion battery anode could charge electronics in minutes - [Link]
by Matt Mcgowan @ phys.org:
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius – or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the functioning of processors, drivers, controllers and other analog and digital circuits used in power electronics, automobiles and aerospace equipment – all of which must perform at high and often extreme temperatures.
“This ruggedness allows these circuits to be placed in locations where standard silicon-based parts can’t survive,” said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor. “The circuit blocks we designed contributed to superior performance of signal processing, controllers and driver circuitry. We are extremely excited about the results so far.”
Circuits capable of functioning at temperatures greater than 650 degrees fahrenheit - [Link]
by INM – Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien:
When users operate their smartphones, tablets and so on, they do not give a second thought to the complicated electronics that make them work. All that concerns them is that they can happily swipe and tap away. To make the touchscreens work, they are provided on their surface with microscopically small electrical conductor tracks, which open and close circuits when touched with a finger. At the peripheries of the devices, these microscopic tracks merge into larger conductor tracks. Until now, several production stages have been needed to create them. The researchers at the INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials are now presenting a novel process that allows microscopic and macroscopic conductor tracks to be produced in one step.
Novel process allows production of the entire circuitry on touchscreens in one step - [Link]
By Dario Borghino:
Researchers at the University of Toronto have manufactured and tested a new type of colloidal quantum dots (CQD), that, unlike previous attempts, doesn’t lose performance as they keep in contact with oxygen. The development could lead to much cheaper or even spray-on solar cells, as well as better LEDs, lasers and weather satellites.
A quantum dot is a nanocrystal made out of a semicondutor material which is small enough to take advantage of the laws of quantum mechanics. Quantum dots are at the center of a very new and rapidly evolving field of research, with the promise for applications in highly efficient solar cells, transistors and lasers, among other things.
Quantum dot breakthrough could lead to cheap spray-on solar cells - [Link]
by University of Twente:
Researchers from the University of Twente MESA+ research institute, together with the company SolMateS, have developed a new type of transistor to reduce the power consumption of microchips. The basic element of modern electronics, namely the transistor, suffers from significant current leakage. By enveloping a transistor with a shell of piezoelectric material, which distorts when voltage is applied, researchers were able to reduce this leakage by a factor of five (compared to a transistor without this material). An article presenting the prototype of the transistor appears in the June issue of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, an authoritative scientific journal in the field of transistor research.
Prototype of new transistor for lower power consumption - [Link]
By Dexter Johnson:
Quantum dots have offered an attractive option for photovoltaics. Multijunction solar cells made from colloidal quantum dots (CQD) have been able to achieve around 7-percent conversion efficiency in the lab. While figures like this may not seem too impressive when compared to silicon solar cells, their promised theoretical conversion efficiency limit is an eye-popping 45 percent. This is possible because when a single photon is absorbed by a quantum dot, it produces more than one bound electron-hole pair, or exciton, thereby doubling normal conversion efficiency numbers seen in single-junction silicon cells.
Quantum Dot Solar Cells Break Conversion Efficiency Record - [Link]