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Researchers develop first stretchable integrated circuit using an inkjet printer

Researchers from US based Michigan State University have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit (IC) made entirely using an inkjet printer.

This elastic material is made up of several materials fabricated from nanomaterials and organic compounds.  These compounds are dissolved in solution to produce different electronic inks, which can easily run through printer to make devices.

Key Facts
  • Using the ink, the researchers have successfully created the elastic material, the circuit and the organic light-emitting diode (OLED). The next step is combining the circuit and OLED into a single pixel.
  • Benefits: As the material is produced using a standard printer, it has a major potential cost advantage over current technologies that are expensive to manufacture.
  • Besides, stretchable electronic fabric can be easily folded and put in one’s pocket without breaking.
  • Potential applications: The new stretchable ICs can be used in smart tablet that could be stretched in size, from small to extra-large.
  • Besides, it can be used in wearable electronics like rubber band-like wrist monitor that measures the wearer’s heartbeat, soft robotics applications and wallpaper that turns an entire wall into an electronic display.

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Researchers develop world’s smallest nanoscale diode

Researchers have developed the world’s smallest nanoscale diode or molecular rectifier that could impact the development of molecular electronic devices in future.

The breakthrough was achieved by the researchers from the University of Georgia and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). It has size of single molecule and facilitates electronic current flow in one direction.

How it was developed?

  • Researchers took a single DNA molecule made from 11 base pairs and connected it to an electronic circuit just a few nanometres in size.
  • When current was passed through this molecule, it remained electrically neutral and didn’t show any changes.
  • Later they inserted layers of a molecule called coralyne between layers of DNA which made in electrically active and the behaviour of the circuit showing necessary characteristics of a nano diode.

Significance: In future it may help in the design and construction of nano-scale electronic elements that are at least 1,000 times smaller than current components.

What are diodes?

  • Diodes are electronic devices that that allow current to move through it in one direction with far greater ease but not another.
  • The most common diodes in modern electronics circuit design are the semiconductor diode, although other diode technologies exist.
  • They are responsible for moving current around a lot of common electronics, and are printed by the millions onto modern-day silicon chips.

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Indian origin scientist Ashutosh Tiwari discovers fast SnO conductor to replace silicon

A team of scientist in US led by an Indian-origin Ashutosh Tiwari has discovered Tin Monoxide (SnO) conductor to replace silicon.

SnO is a new kind of 2D semiconducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that consumes less power.

Key discovery

  • SnO semiconductor is made of the two elements tin and oxygen. It is first stable P-type 2D semiconductor material ever in existence.
  • It is a layer of 2D material with thickness of only one atom and consumes less power. It has ability to allow electrical charges to move through it much faster (100 times) than conventional 3D materials such as silicon.
  • Applications: This semiconductor material can used in transistors which are the lifeblood of all electronic devices such as computer, graphics and mobile processors.

Currently, transistors and other components used in electronic devices are made of 3D materials such as silicon that consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate. These materials have downside as the electrons bounce around inside the layers in all directions consuming more power and lower speed.

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