Fast and flexible: Electronics for the next generation

Sep 06, 2012 by Mark Riechers
Fast and flexible: Electronics for the next generation
Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma displays some flexible electronics.

(Phys.org)—This year's thin, powerful smartphone quickly becomes yesterday's underperforming battery hog in today's consumer electronics market.

The demand for smaller devices with more features and increased battery life seems insatiable-and electrical and computer engineering Professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma is keeping up with that pace, working tirelessly to improve the technology that could power the next generation of mobile electronics.

Ma's work centers on fast, flexible electronics-circuits that can bend to any shape without sacrificing performance. He's been refining techniques for designing chips on silicon nanomembranes, developing faster methods of "carving" circuitry into these thin, stretched layers of insulated silicon using patterned adhesive membranes to pull off layers of insulation. "They use a single crystal material, which offers a much higher speed than can be realized using other materials," says Ma, of his devices. "So far, we have gotten as high as 12 (GHz)."

A typical smartphone runs at around 2 GHz, but the benefit of integrating fast, flexible electronics into future smartphone designs isn't just about increases in speed. Huge improvements in are possible, as well.

"You take a 12 GHz flexible transistor and run it at 2 GHz, and a 3 GHz rigid transistor and run it at 2 GHz. The will be one or two orders lower for the flexible chip," says Ma.

The flexibility of these chips gives them much wider applications than better versions of the tech we already have; they're well suited for everything from small-scale wireless communications to more comfortable, reliable .

"Because they are flexible, you can put them anywhere you want-on your skin, your clothes, wherever," says Ma. "The applications are very, very broad."

Explore further: Renesas announces SRAM using leading-edge 16 nm FinFET for automotive information systems

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cyclist's helmet, Volvo car to communicate for safety

2 hours ago

Volvo calls it "a wearable life-saving wearable cycling tech concept." The car maker is referring to a connected car and helmet prototype that enables two-way communication between Volvo drivers and cyclists ...

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

2 hours ago

California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles ...

Britain's UKIP issues online rules after gaffes

3 hours ago

UK Independence Party (UKIP), the British anti-European Union party, has ordered a crackdown on the use of social media by supporters and members following a series of controversies.

Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage

3 hours ago

The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.