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Posted: February 29, 2008
Prof posits metananocircuits as electronics' next frontier
(Nanowerk News) A University of Pennsylvania professor is exploring an approach to nanotechnology that will allow circuit theory to operate in an entirely new regime--one where "current" is no longer defined as the movement of electrons and holes, but instead as an electromagnetic wave.
If Nader Engheta's theories prove successful in practice--and researchers are already working on experiments to test this--then the work could strike the elusive balance between finding new technologies that can reliably operate at nanometer scales and ensuring that the technologies can bootstrap on decades of knowledge about more-conventional electronics.
For one thing, Engheta said he is interested the possibility of creating switches from metananocircuitry. They could lead to a new kind of optical information processing and, perhaps, a new form of nanoscale computational unit, said Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of electrical and systems engineering at Penn.
He is also excited about the idea of "wireless at nanoscales using light." In other words, Engheta said, he'd like to investigate the possibility of optical communication between nanostructures or even cells that could be pressed into service in the same way that RF and microwaves are used at other scales.