Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Energy News .




ENERGY TECH
CWRU researchers report nanoscale energy-efficient switching devices
by Staff Writers
Cleveland OH (SPX) Dec 14, 2013


This image shows the Case Western Reserve measurement apparatus for studying the SiC NEMS logic building blocks. Insets: (a) An illustration of the basic device structure. (b) A circuit diagram for device testing. (c) Representative measured data of abrupt and non-leakage switching characteristics. (d) Recorded long cycles of robust switching in ambient air. Credit: Image credit: Philip Feng / Case Western Reserve Univeristy.

By relentlessly miniaturizing a pre-World War II computer technology, and combining this with a new and durable material, researchers at Case Western Reserve University have built nanoscale switches and logic gates that operate more energy-efficiently than those now used by the billions in computers, tablets and smart phones.

Electromechanical switches were the building blocks of electronics before the solid-state transistor was developed during the war. A version made from silicon carbide, at the tiniest of scales, snaps on and off like a light switch, and with none of the energy-wasting current leakage that plagues the smallest electronics today.

The scientists report their findings today at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington D.C.

The tiny switch's moving part is only about one cubic micron in volume, more than a thousand times smaller than devices made in today's mainstream microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Thus, this switch can move much faster and is much lighter.

The switch has also proved durable, operating for more than 10 million cycles in air, at ambient temperatures and high heat without loss of performance-far longer than most other candidates for a non-leaking switch.

Such tolerance may enable electronics-makers to build a computer that operates within the intense heat of a nuclear reactor or jet engine. Silicon transistors start to deteriorate at around 250 degrees Celsius (480 degrees Fahrenheit). Testing has shown the silicon carbide switches operate at more than 500 degrees Celsius (930 degrees Fahrenheit).

The development is significant because switching devices are at the heart of computing and communications technologies.

"In our pockets and backpacks, nowadays we often carry mobile devices that consist of billions of such building blocks, which are switching on and off to perform the information processing functions," explained Philip Feng, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve and leader of the project.

Silicon-based metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors, called MOSFETs, are the dominant switching devices in integrated circuits and have led to many extraordinary technologies enjoyed today, Feng said. But continued miniaturization of silicon MOSFETs over the past several decades has recently slowed, as power consumption and heat dissipation have become major challenges.

Energy is lost and heat generated because nanoscale MOFSETs leak like an old faucet. Electrons continue to travel through a switch that's turned off.

"The silicon switches are leaking power at about 1 to 10 nanowatts each," Feng said. "When you have a billion of these on a computer chip, you're losing a few to tens of watts of power. That will consume the battery you carry, even when the transistors are not actively performing computing functions."

Large data centers aren't only wasting that energy, they're paying the costs of cooling to prevent computers from overheating.

Tina He, Prof. Feng's PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science at Case School of Engineering, will provide details about making and testing the switches in her presentation, Silicon Carbide (SiC) Nanoelectromechanical Switches and Logic Gates with Long Cycles and Robust Performance in Ambient Air and High Temperature, at the international meeting. She is scheduled to speak in the "Nano Device Technology - Steep-Slope Devices" session at 3:40 p.m. (Eastern U.S. time), Monday, Dec. 9.

The research team has made three-terminal, gate-controlled switches and different kinds of logic gates - fundamental elements used in computing and communications.

"Compared to silicon and other common materials, SiC is quite special because it is much more resistive to oxidation, to chemical contaminants and to wear," Feng said. "Those properties should lend themselves to devices with more robust performance while protecting them from harsh operating environments."

Co-authors of the conference paper are: Case Western Reserve graduate students Rui Yang and Vaishnavi Ranganathan, staff engineer Srihari Rajgopal, electrical engineering and computer science professors Swarup Bhunia and Mehran Mehregany, and Mary Anne Tupta, senior research engineer from Keithley Instruments Inc.

.


Related Links
Case Western Reserve University
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ENERGY TECH
Added molecules allow metal-organic frameworks to conduct electricity
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 12, 2013
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Sandia National Laboratories have added something new to a family of engineered, high-tech materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs): the ability to conduct electricity. This breakthrough-conductive MOFs-has the potential to make these already remarkable materials even more useful, particularly for detecting gas ... read more


ENERGY TECH
Who Is Keeping the Lights on in California?

The heat is on...or off

French Alstom sues Chinese firm in Bulgaria over patent

India needs $2.1 trillion investment for energy: IEA

ENERGY TECH
Russia says Arctic crew cannot leave country: Greenpeace

CWRU researchers report nanoscale energy-efficient switching devices

Anadarko tumbles on multi-billion dollar ruling

Nigeria's leader under fire over missing $50B in oil money

ENERGY TECH
Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund acquires 16 MW wind power asset from O2

Morgan Advanced Materials Delivers Superior Insulation Solution To Wind Farm

Ethiopia spearheads green energy in sub-Saharan Africa

Small-Wind Power Market to Reach $3 Billion by 2020

ENERGY TECH
Quantum waves at the heart of organic solar cells

NREL Reports Soft Costs Now Largest Piece of Solar Installation Total Cost

Research team finds way to make solar cells thin, efficient and flexible

Solar cell degradation observed directly for the first time

ENERGY TECH
US Risks Losing Critical Clean Electricity if Nuclear Power Plants Keep Closing at Steady Pace

US takes last shipment of Russian uranium

Company says no danger after fire at US nuclear plant

S. Korea scales back nuclear expansion plans

ENERGY TECH
Ground broken on $6 million Hungarian farm biogas plant

Team reports on US trials of bioenergy grasses

Companies could make the switch to wood power

Turning waste into power with bacteria and loofahs

ENERGY TECH
Chang'e-3 probe moves closer to the moon

China's first lunar rover lands on moon: State TV

China moon rover enters lunar orbit: Xinhua

Turkey keen on space cooperation with China

ENERGY TECH
French carbon crook on run after bracelet fails

Rapid climate changes, but with a 120 year time lag

Report Calls Attention To Abrupt Impacts From Climate Change

Study finds rivers and streams release more greenhouse gas than all lakes




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement