Transistor radios tinier than a grain of sand, made using nanotechnology, can not only tune in to the traffic report, but may end up outperforming current silicon-based electronics, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
The researchers made the microscopic radios out of carbon nanotubes—tiny strands of carbon atoms—and say in theory they could lead to faster devices.
They overcame a series of obstacles that have defeated efforts to make nano-radios, including getting amplification, by making their devices on quartz wafers.
“Our goal is not to make tiny radios per se, but really to develop nanotubes as a higher-performing semiconductor,” said John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois.
He said the devices are meant to showcase a new way of making carbon nanotubes in perfectly aligned rows, much like strands of silky hair that have been combed flat.