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NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing


graphene membrane

NIST researchers simulated computer logic operations in a saline solution with a graphene membrane (grey) containing pores that can trap potassium ions (purple) under certain electrical conditions.

Credit: NIST

U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have shown how computational logic operations could be performed in a liquid medium by simulating the trapping of ions in graphene floating in saline solution. The new ion-based transistor and logic operations are simpler in concept than previous proposals. The simulations show that a special film immersed in liquid can function as a solid silicon-based semiconductor. "In addition, the same exact device can act as both a transistor and a memory device—all you have to do is switch the input and output," says NIST's Alex Smolyanitsky.

In the NIST simulations, the graphene was suspended in water containing potassium chloride. The crown ether pores were designed to trap potassium ions, which have a positive charge. Simulations show that the trapping and penetration of a single potassium ion in each pore can be tuned by applying different voltage levels across the membrane, creating logic operations with 0s and 1s.

From U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology
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