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Posted: May 04, 2011

Nokia's Morph nanotechnology concept device to benefit from graphene (w/video)

(Nanowerk News) Morph is a joint nanotechnology concept developed by Nokia Research Center (NRC) and the University of Cambridge (UK). Morph is a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.
Morph, will act as a gateway. It will connect the user to the local environment as well as the global internet. It is an attentive device that adapts to the context it shapes according to the context. The device can change its form from rigid to flexible and stretchable. Buttons of the user interface can grow up from a flat surface when needed. User will never have to worry about the battery life. It is a device that will help us in our everyday life, to keep our self connected and in shape. It is one significant piece of a system that will help us to look after the environment.
Nokia Morph
Left: tablet mode; middle: phone mode; right: wearable mode (Source: Nokia)
Without the new materials, i.e. new structures enabled by the novel materials and manufacturing methods it would be impossible to build Morph kind of device. Graphene has an important role in different components of the new device and the ecosystem needed to make the gateway and context awareness possible in an energy efficient way.
Graphene will enable evolution of the current technology e.g. continuation of the ever increasing computing power when the performance of the computing would require sub nanometer scale transistors by using conventional materials. With graphene it will be possible to enhance the performance and reach THz frequencies for the transistors without cooling problems that would be a show stopper with high frequency traditional electronics. This will enable energy efficient computing in the CPU of the mobile device as well as within the self powered sensors combined with processing and the super computers needed to collect context data and perform the hard processing. Enhanced processing is also an essential part for connectivity, to make the radio of the gateway perform on a level the current wired connections do.
Graphene is transparent and thin. These properties will lead to a new generation of components and devices with novel form factors. At first it will replace ITO, which is fragile, toxic and more and more expensive. Flexible displays are coming to the market, already. Using graphene ribbon network it will be possible to build stretchable connectors. The stretchable device will be a combination of miniaturized rigid components, stretchable substrate and stretchable and bendable components.
Novel materials - such as graphene - and environmentally friendly, low cost manufacturing - such as bottom up methods and printed electronics - are crucial for the future of the electronics. Also, new methods to treat multiscale systems, e.g. to transfer information between molecular and macroscopic parts of the system, will open up totally new kind of applications based on different kind of effective laws of nature we have been used to. The ability to control the electrical properties of graphene on line will enable new kind of reconfigurable electronics, and most probably Morph will get properties that we might not be able to think from the beginning.
Source: Nokia Research Center
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