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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.