Electronic Design

From The Labs

Researchers at Brown University's Center for Advanced Materials Research are exploring the action of atomic level materials. Their project is investigating the potential creation of fast electrical devices and optical switches that could respond in a millionth of a blink of an eye. To do this, the researchers must first learn how to enhance the movement of electrons, which act like sprinters. Particles called phonons act like hurdles that slow down the electrons. The team will try to create a way to make phonons spring the electrons forward.

Through its sponsorship of MEMS research at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Texas Instruments intends to commercialize silicon micromotor technology that will raise the areal density of hard disk drives (HDDs). By extending MEMS work done at TI, UCI researchers aim to develop MEMS micromotors that will improve the precision with which HDD recording heads can be positioned. With greater positioning accuracy, it becomes possible to write several data-bit streams or tracks within the space previously required to record just one track.

A team of researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory is developing a new class of electrolytes. To date, they have identified and synthesized three electrolyte components that can lead to cheaper, more efficient, environmentally friendly batteries: aza-ether compounds, new boron-based compounds, and new organic salts. When used as additives, the boron-based compounds enable simple, inexpensive, and nontoxic salts, such as lithium fluoride and lithium chloride, to be used as replacements for the more conventional electrolyte salts.

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