Fresh research promises to enable engineers to design products that are smaller and much smarter. A team at the University of Maryland has created the world's tiniest transistor. Trillions of such transistors could fit on one computer chip--100 times more than is possible with current technology. Using a principle called tunneling physics, the researchers first produced a 25-nm transistor and then one as small as 10 nm. At that size, it would take 100,000 transistors to span the width of a single human hair. The advance, supported by the National Security Agency and the Naval Research Laboratory, could lead to smaller, more complex, and more efficient integrated circuits. "Whether or not this technology is adopted wide-scale by industry will come down to practical issues," says team leader Chia-Hung Yang, a professor of electrical engineering at the university.
Marine mussels and their interaction with the ocean environment has inspired a breakthrough in developing a nontoxic coating for organic electronic components that also could speed up the manufacturing process.
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