Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Weaving electronics into the fabric of our physical world

Aligned carbon nanotubes, coated with a conducting polymer
Credit: CORE-Materials from Flickr
Aligned carbon nanotubes, coated with a conducting polymer Credit: CORE-Materials from Flickr

Abstract:
The integration of electronics with materials opens up a world of possibilities, the surface of which is just being scratched. Professor Arokia Nathan has joined the University to take up a new Chair in Engineering, where he will be exploring the application of research that allows us to glimpse a world rivalling our wildest dreams of the future.

Weaving electronics into the fabric of our physical world

Cambridge, UK | Posted on January 25th, 2012

The potential applications for nanophotonics and nanoelectronics are truly startling, suggesting the brink of a revolution in human-machine interfaces that could turn science fiction into a reality. From interactive paper to clothing that generates energy and light-weight material with X-ray capabilities, weaving electronics into the building blocks of everyday materials will undoubtedly impact how we live in the future.

The Electrical Division in the Department of Engineering is leading the charge for Cambridge, both in terms of fundamental research and application within industry. While research is of course essential, of almost equal importance in fields like nanoelectronics is showing real world application, demonstrating the potential of technology to industry through prototyping, and encouraging investment from around the world.

To aid this approach, the University has recently recruited Professor Arokia Nathan from University College London (UCL) to a new Chair of Photonic Systems and Displays. Nathan, a world leader in the development of display technology, will work between the three primary groups in the Electrical Engineering Division (electronic materials, photonics and energy), acting as a conduit and catalyst for ideas and research.

"For me this is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with researchers at the top of their game, working on this idea of systems that can integrate functionality such as communications and energy into materials to enhance everyday life," he explained. One of his primary visions for Cambridge is the foundation of a new Design Centre to demonstrate the potential of this technology to industry through prototyping and to encourage investment from around the world.

Initially, Professor Nathan and colleagues within the Division will be developing electronic systems that can be seamlessly layered on to a material or substrate, such as plastic or polyester, with embedded transistors and sensors for transmitting and receiving information. While at UCL, Nathan and a team of collaborators from CENIMAT/FCTUNL, Portugal demonstrated the first inverter and other circuit building blocks on a piece of paper, representing the first step towards animated images and videos on magazine pages.

Power is a vital question for these processes to address. "If a magazine has electronic displays as an integral part of a page, then it's got to cover its own power," says Nathan. "Solar energy will be a major focus of the work. I can see it becoming commonplace for clothing to have embedded electronics that generate energy from solar and even body heat, essentially doubling as a battery that can be charging your phone as it's in your pocket.

This could be coupled with what's known as ‘green broadcasting', to build a picture of an individual self-powering their portable electronics as they are out and about. "These portable devices which otherwise lay idle could be sending out information at very low bit rates without using much energy. It could always be active - this is where our photonics group has expertise," says Nathan. "It's easy to see how these technologies might appeal to major industry, from clothing manufacturers to publishers, and certainly the military."

Nanowires will be a key area of investigation for Nathan in the coming years. These structures have an extraordinary length-to-width ratio, only a few nanometres in diameter, and a much greater capacity in terms of speed. "Uniformly dispersed over large areas, the wires could result in millions of transistors on a single sheet of A4 for example," says Nathan.

"While it hasn't been done yet, we will be working on this in an attempt to match the speeds of a Pentium-like chip, scaled to A4. Pentium chips cost 10 dollars per centimetre squared, while a nano thin film transistor could cost as little as 10 cents per centimetre squared, a much cheaper alternative."

Industries such as biomedicine could also benefit hugely from this interlacing of nano-electronics into materials. "You could foresee a time when you can take the X-ray to the patient rather than vice-versa," says Nathan. "Patients might lie on a surface woven with electronics, so that data can be broadcast straight from the material. You couldn't do this with Pentium-like chips because of yield and cost issues."

"With these non-conventional materials you have a great deal of freedom. We believe this approach to circuitry in substrates will lead to the creation of smart substances, and once you start thinking about the possible applications, it's hard to stop: surgeon's gloves with smart skin, walls of a house that store energy and generate large-scale displays, magazines with interactive video in the pages, devices that dissolve the toxins in water, bio-interfaces in mobile phones with diagnostic capabilities, clothing that generates energy - the possibilities are endless!"

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Tel: 44 01223 332300
Fax: 44 01223 330262

Copyright © University of Cambridge

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

Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE):

Related News Press

News and information

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Utilizing palladium for addressing contact issues of buried oxide thin film transistors April 5th, 2024

Light guide plate based on perovskite nanocomposites November 3rd, 2023

Simple ballpoint pen can write custom LEDs August 11th, 2023

Novel design perovskite electrochemical cell for light-emission and light-detection May 12th, 2023

Possible Futures

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Academic/Education

Rice University launches Rice Synthetic Biology Institute to improve lives January 12th, 2024

Multi-institution, $4.6 million NSF grant to fund nanotechnology training September 9th, 2022

National Space Society Helps Fund Expanding Frontier’s Brownsville Summer Entrepreneur Academy: National Space Society and Club for the Future to Support Youth Development Program in South Texas June 24th, 2022

How a physicist aims to reduce the noise in quantum computing: NAU assistant professor Ryan Behunin received an NSF CAREER grant to study how to reduce the noise produced in the process of quantum computing, which will make it better and more practical April 1st, 2022

Nanomedicine

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

New micromaterial releases nanoparticles that selectively destroy cancer cells April 5th, 2024

Sensors

Innovative sensing platform unlocks ultrahigh sensitivity in conventional sensors: Lan Yang and her team have developed new plug-and-play hardware to dramatically enhance the sensitivity of optical sensors April 5th, 2024

$900,000 awarded to optimize graphene energy harvesting devices: The WoodNext Foundation's commitment to U of A physicist Paul Thibado will be used to develop sensor systems compatible with six different power sources January 12th, 2024

A color-based sensor to emulate skin's sensitivity: In a step toward more autonomous soft robots and wearable technologies, EPFL researchers have created a device that uses color to simultaneously sense multiple mechanical and temperature stimuli December 8th, 2023

New tools will help study quantum chemistry aboard the International Space Station: Rochester Professor Nicholas Bigelow helped develop experiments conducted at NASA’s Cold Atom Lab to probe the fundamental nature of the world around us November 17th, 2023

Nanoelectronics

Interdisciplinary: Rice team tackles the future of semiconductors Multiferroics could be the key to ultralow-energy computing October 6th, 2023

Key element for a scalable quantum computer: Physicists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University demonstrate electron transport on a quantum chip September 23rd, 2022

Reduced power consumption in semiconductor devices September 23rd, 2022

Atomic level deposition to extend Moore’s law and beyond July 15th, 2022

Discoveries

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

Materials/Metamaterials/Magnetoresistance

How surface roughness influences the adhesion of soft materials: Research team discovers universal mechanism that leads to adhesion hysteresis in soft materials March 8th, 2024

Nanoscale CL thermometry with lanthanide-doped heavy-metal oxide in TEM March 8th, 2024

Focused ion beam technology: A single tool for a wide range of applications January 12th, 2024

Catalytic combo converts CO2 to solid carbon nanofibers: Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material January 12th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Military

NRL charters Navy’s quantum inertial navigation path to reduce drift April 5th, 2024

What heat can tell us about battery chemistry: using the Peltier effect to study lithium-ion cells March 8th, 2024

The Access to Advanced Health Institute receives up to $12.7 million to develop novel nanoalum adjuvant formulation for better protection against tuberculosis and pandemic influenza March 8th, 2024

New chip opens door to AI computing at light speed February 16th, 2024

Appointments/Promotions/New hires/Resignations/Deaths

The National Space Society Mourns the Passing of Robert Krone, Founder of the Kepler Space Institute: Krone's Visionary and Humanistic Approach to the Study of Space Communities and Settlement Was Unique September 22nd, 2021

Leibniz Prize winner Professor Dr. Oliver G. Schmidt moves to Chemnitz University of Technology: President Professor Dr. Gerd Strohmeier refers to an 'absolute top transfer' September 10th, 2021

JEOL USA Welcomes New Managing Director, Hidetaka Sawada April 19th, 2021

The National Space Society Remembers Ben Bova : NSS Mourns the Loss of a Visionary NSS Leader December 2nd, 2020

Energy

Development of zinc oxide nanopagoda array photoelectrode: photoelectrochemical water-splitting hydrogen production January 12th, 2024

Shedding light on unique conduction mechanisms in a new type of perovskite oxide November 17th, 2023

Inverted perovskite solar cell breaks 25% efficiency record: Researchers improve cell efficiency using a combination of molecules to address different November 17th, 2023

The efficient perovskite cells with a structured anti-reflective layer – another step towards commercialization on a wider scale October 6th, 2023

Textiles/Clothing

This new fabric coating could drastically reduce microplastic pollution from washing clothes: University of Toronto Engineering researchers are working on a fabric finish to prevent microplastic fibres from shedding during laundry cycles January 27th, 2023

Protective equipment with graphene nanotubes meets the strictest ESD safety standards March 25th, 2022

Polymer fibers with graphene nanotubes make it possible to heat hard-to-reach, complex-shaped items February 11th, 2022

Flexible material shows potential for use in fabrics to heat, cool July 3rd, 2020

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

What heat can tell us about battery chemistry: using the Peltier effect to study lithium-ion cells March 8th, 2024

Two-dimensional bimetallic selenium-containing metal-organic frameworks and their calcinated derivatives as electrocatalysts for overall water splitting March 8th, 2024

Discovery of new Li ion conductor unlocks new direction for sustainable batteries: University of Liverpool researchers have discovered a new solid material that rapidly conducts lithium ions February 16th, 2024

A battery’s hopping ions remember where they’ve been: Seen in atomic detail, the seemingly smooth flow of ions through a battery’s electrolyte is surprisingly complicated February 16th, 2024

Solar/Photovoltaic

Development of zinc oxide nanopagoda array photoelectrode: photoelectrochemical water-splitting hydrogen production January 12th, 2024

Shedding light on unique conduction mechanisms in a new type of perovskite oxide November 17th, 2023

Inverted perovskite solar cell breaks 25% efficiency record: Researchers improve cell efficiency using a combination of molecules to address different November 17th, 2023

Charged “molecular beasts” the basis for new compounds: Researchers at Leipzig University use “aggressive” fragments of molecular ions for chemical synthesis November 3rd, 2023

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