Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Light up logic: Engineers from UTokyo and RIKEN perform computational logic with light

Columnar liquid crystals are similar in size to current semiconductor transistors.

CREDIT
(c)2019 Aida Group
Columnar liquid crystals are similar in size to current semiconductor transistors. CREDIT (c)2019 Aida Group

Abstract:
For the first time, researchers performed logic operations -- the basis of computation -- with a chemical device using electric fields and ultraviolet light. The device and the pioneering methods used open up research possibilities including low-power, high-performance computer chips.

Light up logic: Engineers from UTokyo and RIKEN perform computational logic with light

Tokyo, Japan | Posted on January 18th, 2019

Computers need an upgrade. From smartwatches to data centers, all computers feature similar kinds of components, including processors and memory. These semiconductor chips comprise minuscule electronic transistors on beds of silicon. Such devices cannot be made much smaller because of how matter behaves at the quantum scale they're approaching. For this reason and more, engineers devise new ways and materials to perform logic and memory functions.

Doctoral student Keiichi Yano, Lecturer Yoshimitsu Itoh and Professor Takuzo Aida from the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Tokyo and their team developed a device which demonstrates functions useful to computation. Conventional computers use electric charge to represent binary digits (1's and 0's), but the engineers' device uses electric fields and UV light. These allow for lower power operation and create less heat than logic based on electric charge.

The device is also vastly different from current semiconductor chips as it is chemical in nature, and it's this property that gives rise to its potential usefulness in the future of computation. It's not just the power and heat benefit; this device could be manufactured cheaply and easily too. The device features disk and rod-shaped molecules that self-assemble into spiral staircase-like shapes called columnar liquid crystals (CLC) in the right conditions.

"One thing I love about creating a device using chemistry is that it's less about 'building' something; instead it's more akin to 'growing' something," says Itoh. "With delicate precision, we coax our compounds into forming different shapes with different functions. Think of it as programming with chemistry."

Before a logic operation begins, the researchers sandwich a sample of CLCs between two glass plates covered in electrodes. Light that is polarized -- always vibrates in a single plane -- passes through the sample to a detector on the other side.

In the sample's default state, the CLCs exist in a randomly oriented state which allows the light to reach the detector. When either the electric field or UV light is individually switched on then off, the detected output remains the same. But when the electric field and UV light are switched on together and then off again after about a second, the CLCs line up in a way which blocks the detector from the light.

If the "output" states of light and dark, and the "input" states of the electric field and UV light are all assigned binary digits to identify them, then the process has effectively performed what is called a logical AND function -- all inputs to the function must be "1" for the output to be "1."

"The AND function is one of several fundamental logic functions, but the most important one for computation is the NOT-AND or NAND function. This is one of several areas for further research," explains Yano. "We also wish to increase the speed and density of the CLCs to make them more practical for use. I'm fascinated by how self-assembling molecules like those we use to make the CLCs give rise to phenomena such as logical functions."

####

About University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo is Japan's leading university and one of the world's top research universities. The vast research output of some 6,000 researchers is published in the world's top journals across the arts and sciences. Our vibrant student body of around 15,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduate students includes over 2,000 international students. Find out more at https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/ or follow us on Twitter at @UTokyo_News_en.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Research Contact

Yoshimitsu Itoh
Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5841-8810


Press Contact

Mr. Rohan Mehra
Division for Strategic Public Relations, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5841-0876

Copyright © University of Tokyo

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Journal article

The Aida Group:

Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering:

Emergent Soft Matter Function Research Group at RIKEN:

Related News Press

News and information

An 'exceptionally stable' single-atom catalyst: Single platinum atoms stabilized in C12A7 crystals February 26th, 2020

180 Degree Capital Corp. Reports 15.9% Annual Increase and 0.3% Quarter Increase in Net Asset Value Per Share to $3.06 as of December 31, 2019 February 24th, 2020

The Human Brain/Cloud Interface Research Paper has been Published! February 22nd, 2020

KIST researchers develop high-capacity EV battery materials that double driving range: Everyday materials and simple process used to develop new battery anode materials! Cost-effectiveness and simplicity of process and excellent properties of materials enable mass-production and February 21st, 2020

Chip Technology

Black phosphorous tunnel field-effect transistor as an alternative ultra-low power switch? February 21st, 2020

CEA-Leti and CEA-IRIG Demonstrate Quantum Integrated Circuit Combining Quantum Dot with Digital-Analog Circuits on CMOS Chip: Presentation at ISSCC 2020 Shows Role FD-SOI Can Play in Embedding Qubit Arrays with Classic Electronics to Build Large-Scale Quantum Silicon Processors February 20th, 2020

CEA-Leti Presents High-Performance Processor Breakthrough With Active Interposer and 3D Stacked Chiplets at ISSCC 2020 February 19th, 2020

KIST unveils the mystery of van der Waals magnets, a material for future semiconductors: Overcoming the limits of current magnetic materials, giving hope for development of next-generation semiconductors February 14th, 2020

Self Assembly

Researchers show what drives a novel, ordered assembly of alternating peptides February 20th, 2020

Quantum physics: Controlled experiment observes self-organized criticality January 16th, 2020

Pretty with a twist: Complex porous, chiral nano-patterns arise from a simple linear building block January 16th, 2020

Researchers gain control over internal structure of self-assembled composite materials January 16th, 2020

Optical computing/Photonic computing

Armored with plastic 'hair' and silica, new perovskite nanocrystals show more durability November 29th, 2019

Tiny, biocompatible laser could function inside living tissues: Nanolaser has potential to treat neurological disorders or sense disease biomarkers September 23rd, 2019

Nano bulb lights novel path: Rice University engineers create tunable, nanoscale, incandescent light source September 20th, 2019

Breakthrough enables storage and release of mechanical waves without energy loss: The development may have broad implications for efficient harvesting, storing, and control of energy flow for mechanical and optical applications August 30th, 2019

Discoveries

An 'exceptionally stable' single-atom catalyst: Single platinum atoms stabilized in C12A7 crystals February 26th, 2020

The Human Brain/Cloud Interface Research Paper has been Published! February 22nd, 2020

A scaffold at the center of our cellular skeleton: UNIGE researchers have discovered a new nano-structure that lies at the center of our cellular skeleton; this discovery will allow to better understand how the cell maintains its architecture as well as the pathologies associated February 21st, 2020

Russian scientists found an effective way to obtain fuel for hydrogen engines: One of the most promising alternative energy sources is hydrogen, which can be extracted from water and air February 21st, 2020

Announcements

An 'exceptionally stable' single-atom catalyst: Single platinum atoms stabilized in C12A7 crystals February 26th, 2020

180 Degree Capital Corp. Reports 15.9% Annual Increase and 0.3% Quarter Increase in Net Asset Value Per Share to $3.06 as of December 31, 2019 February 24th, 2020

The Human Brain/Cloud Interface Research Paper has been Published! February 22nd, 2020

KIST researchers develop high-capacity EV battery materials that double driving range: Everyday materials and simple process used to develop new battery anode materials! Cost-effectiveness and simplicity of process and excellent properties of materials enable mass-production and February 21st, 2020

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

CEA-Leti Clears a Path to Developing Ultralow Loss, High-Power Photonics in UV through Mid-Infrared Wavelengths ‘Breakthrough Will Lead to Quantum Computing, Imaging, Sensing, Communication, and Clocks’ February 3rd, 2020

A quantum of solid February 1st, 2020

A megalibrary of nanoparticles: Researchers at Penn State have developed a simple approach that could produce over 65,000 different types of complex nanoparticles January 30th, 2020

Let the europium shine brighter January 21st, 2020

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project