Researchers uncover unique electronic devices

A new way to create thin electric conducting sheets, which could revolutionise small electronic devices, has been discovered by Queen’s University Belfast researchers.

The unique 2D sheets created by Dr Raymond McQuaid, Dr Amit Kumar and Professor Marty Gregg from Queen’s University’s School of Mathematics and Physics are called domain walls, which exist within crystalline materials, could potentially control everything from banking, medical technology and smartphones.

Small electronic devices could potentially be created from the sheets, because of electronic circuits having the ability to change different tasks.

Unlike the thin wonder material graphene, they move around within the crystal and appear and disappear without the crystal having to permanently alter.

‘New data processing techniques’

“Almost all aspects of modern life such as communication, healthcare, finance and entertainment rely on microelectronic devices. The demand for more powerful, smaller technology keeps growing, meaning that the tiniest devices are now composed of just a few atoms – a tiny fraction of the width of human hair,” explained Professor Marty Gregg.

“As things currently stand, it will become impossible to make these devices any smaller – we will simply run out of space. This is a huge problem for the computing industry and new, radical, disruptive technologies are needed. One solution is to make electronic circuits more ‘flexible’ so that they can exist at one moment for one purpose, but can be completely reconfigured the next moment for another purpose.

The team’s finding show new data processing techniques and has been published in Nature Communications.

Written from press release by Leah Alger