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Index > Heap > World's Smallest Electronic Circuit Engineered!

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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
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Just like electronic Gadgets, electronic circuits are also getting smaller. The study by McGill University and Sandia National Laboratories has resulted in the development of world’s tiniest electronic circuit. This is actually a phenomenon on slightly higher stage than atomic level. The circuit which just consists of only two wires is seen as a future of smaller electronic industry.


The ‘get small’ attitude of the industry is reflected in this research. The specialty of the circuit is two bare wires separated by 15nm distance or roughly around 150 atoms thick. The distance is the main parameter which brings a phenomenon called Coulomb Drag into play. When the two wires are kept undisturbed in each other’s vicinity, the wires behave in a different way than normal. Current starts flowing in them but in opposite directions. In other words if the current flowing through one of the component wire if considered positive, the current in other wire flows negatively as if to cancel the effect. However as we are seeing electronic action in the setup, it is termed as an electric circuit; perhaps the smallest in the world until now!

Surprisingly we are overcoming a difficulty in this circuit, it is the heat generated in it. In normal circuits, heat has to be dissipated through the use of extended surfaces or ‘fins’. However, as the distance is smaller, the heat generated will be smaller as adjacent wires can easily absorb those minute quantities. Moreover, speed will also be a parameter and a point of advantage of these electronic circuits over the conventional ones. The setup being smaller than ordinary, electrical signals will take lesser time to travel from one point to another.

The discovery was a part of research by Guillaume Gervais from McGill’s Physics Department and Mike Lilly from Sandia National Laboratories. The experimental facts and the consequent results were published in online edition of Nature Nanotechnology titled Positive and Negative Coulomb Drag in Vertically Integrated One-Dimensional Quantum Wires.

Post 10 Dec 2011, 07:11
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