Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny nanotube antennas may yield better signals in cell phones, televisions

30.12.2003


In the future, your cell phone calls and television pictures could become a lot clearer thanks to tiny antennas thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. At least that’s the speculation of a University of Southern California researcher who has been investigating nanotube transistors.



The USC scientist, Bart Kosko, Ph.D., a professor in the school’s Electrical Engineering Department, led a study that has demonstrated for the first time that minuscule antennas, in the form of carbon nanotube transistors, can dramatically enhance the processing of electrical signals, a development that could pave the way for improved performance of consumer electronic devices.

The finding adds to a growing number of promising electronic components that are nanotube-based, including logic gates for computers and diodes for light displays. The study appears in the December issue of Nano Letters, a monthly peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.


"No one knows exactly how these little tubes work or even if they will work out in manufacturing, but they are surprisingly good at detecting electrical signals," says Kosko. "Once we figure out all the parameters that are needed to fine tune them, both physically and chemically, we hope to turn these tubes into powerful little antennas."

If all goes well, the tubes could start appearing in consumer products within five to ten years, he predicts.

The finding hinges on a well-known but counterintuitive theory called "stochastic resonance" that claims noise, or unwanted signals, can actually improve the detection of faint electrical signals. Kosko set out to show that the theory was applicable at the nano scale.

Under controlled laboratory conditions, Kosko’s graduate student, Ian Lee, generated a sequence of faint electrical signals ranging from weak to strong. In combination with noise, the faint signals were then exposed to devices with and without carbon nanotubes. The signals were significantly enhanced in the container with the nanotubes compared to those without nanotubes, Kosko says.

Although much testing needs to be conducted before the structures are proven to be of practical use, Kosko sees big potential for the little tubes. He says they show promise for improving "spread spectrum" technology, a signal processing technique used in many newer phones that allows listeners to switch to different channels for clearer signals and to prevent others from eavesdropping.

Arrays of the tiny tubes could also process image pixel data, leading to improved television images, including flat-panel displays, according to Kosko. The tubes also have the potential to speed up Internet connections, the researcher says.

In a more futuristic application, Kosko believes the tubes have the potential to act as artificial nerve cells, which could help enhance sensation and movement to damaged nerves and limbs. The sensors might even be used as electrical components in artificial limbs, he adds.

By adjusting the shape, length and chemical composition of the nanotubes, as well as the size of the tube array, they can in essence be customized for a wide-variety of electronic needs, Kosko predicts. "There are likely many good applications for the technology that we have not foreseen."

Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>