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Schematic of the ionic liquid-gated SmNiO3 synaptic transistor (Photo: Harvard Univ.)

In a development that may enable a wholly new approach to artificial intelligence, researchers at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have invented a type of transistor that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse. Called a synaptic transistor, the new device self-optimizes its properties for the functions it has carried out in the past.  Read More

A 110-core CPU chip based on a new architecture has been developed that reduces on-chip tr...

A 110-core CPU chip has been developed by computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The chip is based on a new architecture in which instead of bringing data across the chip to the core that happens to want it, you move the program to the core where the data is stored. In practice, this new architecture reduces the amount of on-chip data exchange tenfold, along with the heat and infrastructure demanded by conventional chip architecture.  Read More

Stanford EE graduate student Max Schulaker holds a silicon wafer on which have been grown ...

In a technological tour de force, researchers at Stanford University have constructed a one-bit, one-instruction programmable computer on a chip using carbon nanotube-based electronics for all logic elements. Containing 178 carbon nanotube field-effect transistors, the computer is only able to carry out only one instruction, called SUBNEG. However, SUBNEG is Turing-complete, allowing the computer to run, albeit with an extraordinary level of inefficiency, any program, given enough memory, time, and programming ingenuity.  Read More

Stanford scientists have used DNA molecules to assemble high-performance graphene transist...

A team of Stanford researchers has found a way to grow graphene nanoribbons using strands of DNA. This important development could be the key to large-scale production of graphene-based transistors that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster and less power-hungry than current silicon technology.  Read More

A cross-section transmission electron micrograph of the tiny new transistor

As there is a finite number of transistors that can be effectively packed onto a silicon chip, researchers have been searching for an alternative to silicon that would allow integrated circuit development to continue to keep pace with Moore's Law. Researchers at MIT have recently used indium gallium arsenide to create the smallest transistor ever built from a material other than silicon. The new transistor, which is said to “work well,” is just 22 nanometers long and is a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), which is the kind typically used in microprocessors.  Read More

Structure of 2D molybdenum disulfide (Image: Wang et al. / MIT)

Imagine a world where rooms are lit by their walls, clothes are smartphones and windows turn into video screens. That may seem like a bit of science fiction, but not for long. Researchers at MIT are using a two-dimensional version of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) to build electrical circuits that may soon revolutionize consumer electronics.  Read More

Researchers are working on a vacuum channel transistor that can combines the best traits o...

Most people associate vacuum tubes with a time when a single computer took up several rooms and "debugging" meant removing the insects stuck in the valves, but this technology may be in for a resurgence with news that researchers at NASA and the National Nanofab Center in South Korea are working on a miniaturized "vacuum channel transistor" - a best-of-both-worlds device that could find application in space and high-radiation environments.  Read More

TAU researchers have created a new transistor using blood, milk and mucus proteins (Image:...

In a bid to develop a transistor that didn’t need to be created in a “top down” approach” as is the case with silicon-based transistors, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) turned to blood, milk and mucus proteins. The result is protein-based transistors the researchers say could form the basis of a new generation of electronic devices that are both flexible and biodegradable.  Read More

2011 - a year in technology

We cast a wide net over all types of new and emerging technologies here at - some save us time, some keep us connected, some help us stay healthy and some are just plain fun, but at the core of what we cover are those discoveries and innovations which have the potential to impact the fortunes of the human race as a whole and make a difference to the future of our planet. So with the calender having rolled over into another year, it's an ideal time to take a look back at some of the most significant and far-reaching breakthroughs that we saw during 2011.  Read More

A diagram of a three-dimensional indium-gallium-arsenide transistor (Image: Peter Ye, Purd...

Starting next year, computers will be available with three-dimensional transistors – these will incorporate vertical components, unlike the flat chips that we’re used to seeing. This structure will allow them to have shorter gates, which are the components that allow the transistors to switch the electrical current on and off, and to direct its flow. The shorter the gate, the faster the computer can operate. While the new 3D transistors will have a gate length of 22 nanometers, as opposed to the present length of about 45, the use of silicon as a construction material limits how much shorter they could ultimately get. That’s why scientists from Purdue and Harvard universities have created prototype 3D transistors made out of indium-gallium-arsenide – the same compound recently used in a record-breaking solar cell.  Read More

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