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 Linear potentiometer LRW2/3 - Maximum precision with many measuring points
17.05.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht First flat lens for immersion microscope provides alternative to centuries-old technique
17.05.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>