Nanotechnology Powers New Microchip

Researchers at Stanford University have found a new ultra-low power source for transmitting data via microchips. The development could bring about a new generation of computers.

What's the Latest Development?

Using nanoscale light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, computer engineers at Princeton have found a way to transmit information via microchips using much less electricity that current methods, which typically rely on lasers. "Nanophotonics is key to the technology. In the heart of their device, the engineers have inserted little islands of the light-emitting material indium arsenide, which, when pulsed with electricity, produce light." The new device was first announced in the journal Nature Communications. 

What's the Big Idea?

Computer engineers have worried that the growth of computer power is limited by the increasing amounts of electricity needed to transmit ever-larger amounts of data. When too much electricity is used, chips simply overheat and shut down. But Princeton's new LED-powered microchips are 2,000 times as efficient as other devices currently in use, says Jelena Vuckovic, who led the research team. By using very little electricity, the development may help sustain Moore's Law, which has predicted the exponential growth of computer power. 

Photo credit:

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less