Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Good vibrations for the future of computing

04.10.2017

Vibrating mechanical switches that can be cascaded to perform complex computational operations could take computing significantly further than today's technologies. KAUST researchers have demonstrated an alternative technology based on mechanical vibrations.

The microcomputer processors found inside every computer, mobile phone and microwave comprise mind-bogglingly complex networks of millions or billions of microscopic transistors -- electrical switches that turn on when a current flows across their terminals.


The cascadable, vibration-driven microelectromechanical logic gate takes electrical signals as inputs and produces a logic output (1 or 0) based on the resonance of the microbeam.

Credit: © 2016 KAUST

These transistors are networked together to construct logic gates that perform operations, such as AND (when two inputs are on) and OR (when either input is on). In turn, these logic gates are connected to much larger networks to allow increasingly complex operations.

With each transistor consuming electrical current and generating heat even when not being actively switched, and with transistors approaching their physical limits of miniaturization and efficiency, the search is on for alternative technology that will eventually replace the electrical transistor and take computing into the future.

Saad Ilyas and Nizar Jaber, doctoral researchers in the laboratory of Mohammad Younis, have now demonstrated a scalable, efficient alternative technology, not based on electrical current, but on mechanical vibrations excited by multifrequency electrical inputs.

"Electromechanical systems offer a major advantage over existing technology in that they are leakage free: that is, unlike electrical transistors, they only consume power when switched," explains Ilyas. "They also require fewer gates per computing function, resulting in lower complexity, and they can be fabricated with higher integration densities -- it is even predicted that these systems could be scaled down to the molecular level."

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have been investigated in the past for logic operations, but it has been a challenge to devise a mode of operation that allows the MEMS logic gates to be cascaded to form arbitrary computational functions. Jaber and Younis have come up with a novel technique to perform logic operations using MEMS based on frequency mixing, which holds great potential for cascading.

"We use an electrical signal as an input, which causes a clamped polymer microbeam to vibrate at a certain resonance frequency," says Jaber. "This in turn generates motional current as an electrical signal with the same frequency, which could then be cascaded into the input of another MEMS logic gate."

The team demonstrated various logic operations at a single operating frequency, which is an important step towards cascading as the next milestone in MEMS resonator-based computing. Their logic gates are also compatible with existing fabrication techniques.

Carolyn Unck | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials
25.04.2018 | Carnegie Mellon University

nachricht Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT
24.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>