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Researchers Create Functioning Synapse ­sing Carbon Nanotubes

Alice Parker

University of Southern California professor Alice Parker

Mark Berndt/University of Southern California

University of Southern California researchers have built a circuit that acts like a neuron. Professors Alice Parker and Chongwu Zhou and colleagues used an interdisciplinary approach that combined circuit design with nanotechnology to build a carbon nanotube synapse circuit.

Parker says the circuit is the result of an effort to explore the possibility of developing a synthetic brain, which is still decades away. She says the next step is to reproduce brain plasticity in the circuits. Such devices potentially could be used in prosthetic nanotechnology to heal traumatic brain injuries or to develop more intelligent and safe cars, according to Parker.

She says the next step in the process of building a synthetic brain is even more complex. "How can we build structures out of these circuits that mimic the neuron, and eventually the function of the brain, which has 100 billion neurons and 10,000 synapses?" Parker asks.

From USC News
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