Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are essential ingredients of thermal management. TIMs are applied between the heat source, e.g. computer chips, and heat sinks and their function is to fill the voids and grooves created by imperfect surface finish of mating surfaces. Conventional TIMs filled with thermally conductive particles require high volume fractions of filler particles. But now, researchers have achieved a record enhancement of the thermal conductivity of TIMs by addition of an optimized mixture of graphene and multilayer graphene. The thermal conductivity of the epoxy matrix material was increased by an impressive factor of 23 at the 10 volume % of graphene loading. The epoxy-graphene composite preserved all the properties required for industrial TIM applications.
Lipids are the main component of the outermost membrane of cells. Their role is to seperate the inner and outer media of the cell and prevent any ionic current between these two media. Because of this last property, lipid layers can be thought of as good ultra-thin insulators that could be used in the development of electronic devices. So far though, because of their inherent instability in air, their use in advanced processes has been limited. This might change, though, since researchers in France have shown the possibility to stabilize by polymerization a lipid monolayer with a thickness of 2.7 nm directly at the surface of H-terminated silicon surface therefore opening a whole new world of possibilities of the use of these layers. Now, they reported the electrical performance of stabilized lipid monolayers on H-terminated silicon.
A single drop of water can be fatal to electrical circuits. To prevent water damage, current electronic devices are well sealed and packaged with polymer passivation. Researchers in Korea have now gone one step further and made water resistance a feature of the device itself by incorporating nonwetting, superhydrophobic components into the electronic device. They demonstrated this novel idea with a source/drain structure in a thin-film transistor. This work combines superhydorphobicity with electronic devices, especially resistive switching memory devices. Although much research has been done on either topic, few works report the combination of combining superhydrophobicity and electronic devices. This is a novel approach to combine two different concepts to get a synergic effects.
Electronic memory devices are increasingly expected to provide not only greater storage density, but also faster access to information. As storage density increases, however, power consumption and unwanted heat generation also increase, and the fidelity of accessing the memory is frequently diminished. Various platforms exist to overcome these hurdles and, increasingly, graphene finds it way into computer memory technology. The most recent example are experiments that demonstrate the benefits of graphene as a platform for flash memory which show the potential to exceed the performance of current flash memory technology by utilizing the intrinsic properties of graphene.
Electronic devices with muscles-like stretchability have long been pursued, but not achieved due to the requirement that all materials in the devices - electrodes, semiconductor, and dielectric - are stretchable. In their pursuit of fully flexible and stretchable electronic devices, researchers have already reported stretchable solar cells and transistors as well as stretchable active-matrix displays. The nanomaterials used for these purposes range from coiled nanowires to graphene. Recently, researchers at UCLA have successfully demonstrated a stretchable polymer composite that is highly transparent and highly conductive, and applied this nanocomposite material to fabricating stretchable devices. This work represents a proof-of-concept, highly stretchable semiconductor device wherein every part of the device is intrinsically stretchable.
Using single molecules as electronic components like diodes, switches or transistors is the ultimate goal for future electronic nanotechnology devices. In order to explore the electronic properties of a single molecule, researchers have to make electrical contact between electrodes and molecules - and this has proven to be a big challenge. Though many efforts have been made to realize single-molecule electronics, it is still impossible to fabricate a practical single-molecule integrated circuit. One of the problems is the lack of viable methods for wiring each functional molecule. Researchers have now demonstrated a novel method for controlling single molecule chemical reactions - a kind of 'chemical soldering'.
There is a physical and electrical disconnect between the world of electronics and the world of biology. Electronics tend to be rigid, operate using electrons, and are inherently two-dimensional. The brain, as a basis for comparison, is soft, operates using ions, and is three-dimensional. Researchers have therefore been looking to find different routes to create biocompatible devices that work well in wet environments like biological systems. In an exiting new development, researchers from North Carolina State University have fabricated a memory device that is soft, entirely based on liquid-based matter, and functions well in wet environments - opening the door to a new generation of biocompatible electronic devices.
The field of single-molecule magnets is very promising, since an individual magnetic molecule represent the ultimate size limit to store and processing information. Magnetic molecules are considered very promising for spintronics since they can store a bit of information in an extremely small volume. However, in order to make magnetic molecules work, one has to find a way to measure their magnetization. Usual approaches are often very invasive and may lead to a strong perturbation of the properties of the molecules. A European research team has now designed and realized a novel hybrid spintronic nanodevice where the state of the molecule is measured 'indirectly', through a sensor coupled with the molecule.