Today in the journal Nature, researchers led by Charles Lieber report a big step forward in the field of tiny computing: the creation of linked-up logic circuits made of nanowires, which could be used to build itty-bitty processors.
The devices described in the paper layer additional wires across the germanium-silicon ones; charges can be trapped in these wires, influencing the behavior of the underlying nanowires. This charge trapping is nonvolatile but reversible; in other words, you can switch one of the nanowires on or off by altering the charge stored in its neighborhood. This makes it possible to turn the nanowires into a standard field-effect transistor (the authors term them NWFETs for “nanowire field-effect transistors”). [Ars Technica]
Lieber had been able to create simple versions of those NWFETs before, but those were difficult to build on a large enough scale to create logic circuits.
Illness-inducing bacteria, meet nano-engineered cotton–and a quick death. Researchers have created a new “filter” that zaps bacteria with electric fields to clean drinking water. They say their system may find use in developing countries since it requires only a small amount of voltage (a couple of car batteries, a stationary bike, or a solar panel could do the job) and cleans water an estimated 80,000 times faster than traditional devices.
Instead of trapping bacteria in small pores like many slow-going traditional filters, the cotton and silver nanowire combo uses small electric currents running through the nanowires to kill the bacteria outright. In a paper to appear in the journal Nano Letters researchers say that 20 volts and 2.5 inches worth of the material killed 98 percent of Escherichia coli in the water they tested in their lab setup.