Feeds

Boffins whip up SELF-WIRING chip

Electrons steered through new nanomaterial

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Boffins have developed a new nanoscale material that could potentially allow computers to rewire themselves according to the user's needs.

Scientists at Northwestern University decided to look at the problem of teeny-tiny circuits in ever-shrinking electronic devices in a new way, by coming up with a material that can be a resistor, a rectifier, a diode or a transistor depending on signals from a computer.

"Our new steering technology allows use to direct current flow through a piece of continuous material," said Bartosz A Grzybowski, the top brain on the research. "Like redirecting a river, streams of electrons can be steered in multiple directions through a block of the material - even multiple streams flowing in opposing directions at the same time."

The researchers put together some silicon-based and some polymer-based circuits to come up with nanoparticle-based electronics.

This new material consists of electrically conductive particles, five nanometres wide, coated with a positively charged chemical. These particles are swimming in a sea of negatively charged atoms, which are reconfigured as needed by applying an electrical charge.

The first study, in which the scientists made preliminary electronic components, explained:

By moving this sea of negative atoms around the material, regions of low and high conductance can be modulated; the result is the creation of a directed path that allows electrons to flow through the material. Old paths can be erased and new paths created by pushing and pulling the sea of negative atoms. More complex electrical components, such as diodes and transistors, can be made when multiple types of nanoparticles are used.

David A Walker, another boffin on the research, said the material could be used to allow a computer to rewire itself.

"Besides acting as three-dimensional bridges between existing technologies, the reversible nature of this new material could allow a computer to redirect and adapt its own circuitry to what is required at a specific moment in time," he explained.

The paper was published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Will.i.am gets CUFFED as he announces his new wristjob, the PULS
It's got four KILOWATTS of something, apparently
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?
Subtle, naturalistic ambiance – perfect for Transformers 4
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.