Monday, January 28, 2013

     Scientists at Rice University have come up with a process to create a single layer of atoms with conductor material and insulator material. For those who don't understand what that is, let me explain. A conductor is a material that conducts electricity, meaning electrons can flow through it easily. An insulator is something that slows the flow of electrons to a point where they can't make enough progress through the material to be noticeable. Think about a copper wire. The outside is a rubber like material and the inside is copper. Copper is the conductor, the outside layer is the insulator.
     In the case of the Rice discovery, the conductor is graphene, a pure carbon compound. The insulator is a material known as hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). These two materials are made into a single layer of atoms in patterns like one would see on a microchip, except this is in terms of nanotechnology. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
     So what this means is once this can be perfected and other necessary electronic materials can be integrated on the right scale, technology will once again be shrinking and getting more light weight than ever. Not only that, but bending and dropping will be far less damaging to electronics. I don't know about everyone else, but I'll be first in line to get a bendy iPod. (obviously that's a joke, but technology is heading in a flexible direction)
     The next step for scientists is finding a way to place a semiconductor in the single layer atom construction. This could take some time, however. After that there are a few other electronic components that need integration before this can be used in any form. Of course, once all circuitry necessary is integrated, it will still be a long time before we see this technology in use in products we all have.

It is still an exciting development in the world of science.

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