comment on this article

MEMS based approach to shake up computing?

Researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) believe they may have developed a MEMS based alternative to silicon based computing. According to the team, vibrating mechanical switches could be cascaded to perform complex computational operations and say the approach could take computing further than today’s technologies.

Researcher Saad Ilyas said: “Electromechanical systems offer a major advantage over existing technology in that they are leakage free; unlike electrical transistors, they only consume power when switched. They also require fewer gates per computing function, resulting in lower complexity, and they can be fabricated with higher integration densities – it is even predicted that these systems could be scaled down to the molecular level.”

Whle microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have been investigated in the past for logic operations, the team says it has been a challenge to devise a mode of operation that allows such logic gates to be cascaded to form arbitrary computational functions.

Nizar Jaber and lead researcher Mohammad Younis have developed a technique by which logic operations can be performed using frequency mixing, which holds great potential for cascading.

“We use an electrical signal as an input,” said Jaber, “which causes a clamped polymer microbeam to vibrate at a certain resonance frequency. This in turn generates motional current as an electrical signal with the same frequency, which could then be cascaded into the input of another MEMS logic gate.”

The team has so far demonstrated various logic operations at a single operating frequency, which it says is an important step towards cascading. Their logic gates are also compatible with existing fabrication techniques.

Author
Graham Pitcher

Comment on this article


This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Under exposure

Chipmakers are set to break the 10nm barrier as they move from the test-chip ...

NI Trend Watch 2014

This report from National Instruments summarises the latest trends in the ...

Capactive sensing

This whitepaper looks at a number of capacitive sensing applications to ...

Spurring on the IoT

A team of Stanford engineers has built a radio the size of an ant – a device so ...

Mobile slowdown

With just under a week to go before Apple launches its new iPhone the press has ...

The project begins

Just over a week ago Stephen Doran took up his position as CEO of the Compound ...

Peak or bleak?

Ten years ago, the EIGT Report presented the electronics industry with some ...