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'nanoresonators' Might Improve Cell Phone Performance

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This image from a scanning electron microscope shows a tiny mechanical device, an electrostatically actuated nanoresonator, that might ease congestion over the airwaves to improve the performance of cell phones and other portable devices.

Credit: Purdue University

Purdue University researchers have developed nanoelectromechanical resonators, which contain a small beam of silicon that vibrates when voltage is applied.

The researchers have shown that the new devices are produced with almost 100 percent yield. "We are not inventing a new technology, we are making them using a process that's amenable to large-scale fabrication, which overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread commercial use of these devices," says Purdue professor Jeffrey Rhoads.

The nanoresonators, which could help cell phone users avoid dropped calls and slow downloads, also could be used for advanced chemical and biological sensors in medical and homeland defense applications. The researchers say the resonators can be quickly integrated into electronic circuits and systems because of their silicon-on-insulator design, which is compatible with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology. They say the device also is highly tunable, which means it could allow researchers to overcome manufacturing inconsistencies that are common in nanoscale devices.

The nanoresonators might supplant electronic components to achieve higher performance and reduce power consumption. In addition to being more efficient than electronic devices, the nanoresonators are more compact, notes Purdue professor Saeed Mohammadi.

From Purdue University News
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