Menu
Modern science
Soil Microbes Accelerate Global Warming

Bold New Approach to Wind 'Farm' Design May Provide Efficiency Gains

Soft Memory Device Opens Door to New Biocompatible Electronics

Most Elliptical Galaxies Are 'Like Spirals'

New Planets Feature Young Star and Twin Neptunes

Editing the Genome: Scientists Unveil New Tools for Rewriting the Code of Life

High Social Rank Comes at a Price, Wild Baboon Study Finds

Fossil Forensics Reveals How Wasps Populated Rotting Dinosaur Eggs

Monitoring Cellular Interactions at Nano-Scale in More Detail Than Ever Before

Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal, Genetic Research Shows

Making Blood Sucking Deadly for Mosquitoes

Rising Oceans: Too Late to Turn the Tide?

Newly Developed Fluorescent Protein Makes Internal Organs Visible

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Returns Close-Up Image of Giant Asteroid Vesta

Bacteria Use Batman-Like Grappling Hooks to 'Slingshot' On Surfaces, Study Shows

Mysterious Fossils Provide New Clues to Insect Evolution

Twisted Tale of Our Galaxy's Ring: Strange Kink in Milky Way

Engineering Excitable Cells for Studies of Bioelectricity and Cell Therapy

Ancient Footprints Show Human-Like Walking Began Nearly 4 Million Years Ago

Memories May Skew Visual Perception

Movement of Black Holes Powers Quasars, the Universe's Brightest Lights

First Artificial Neural Network Created out of DNA: Molecular Soup Exhibits Brainlike Behavior

Dolphins' 'Remarkable' Recovery from Injury Offers Important Insights for Human Healing

Cosmological Evolution of Dark Matter Is Similar to That of Visible Matter

Exoplanet Aurora: An Out-Of-This-World Sight

Soft Memory Device Opens Door to New Biocompatible Electronics
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a memory device that is soft and functions well in wet environments -- opening the door to a new generation of biocompatible electronic devices.

"We've created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O," says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

Conventional electronics are typically made of rigid, brittle materials and don't function well in a wet environment. "Our memory device is soft and pliable, and functions extremely well in wet environments -- similar to the human brain," Dickey says.

Prototypes of the device have not yet been optimized to hold significant amounts of memory, but work well in environments that would be hostile to traditional electronics. The devices are made using a liquid alloy of gallium and indium metals set into water-based gels, similar to gels used in biological research.

The device's ability to function in wet environments, and the biocompatibility of the gels, mean that this technology holds promise for interfacing electronics with biological systems -- such as cells, enzymes or tissue. "These properties may be used for biological sensors or for medical monitoring," Dickey says.

The device functions much like so-called "memristors," which are vaunted as a possible next-generation memory technology. The individual components of the "mushy" memory device have two states: one that conducts electricity and one that does not. These two states can be used to represent the 1s and 0s used in binary language. Most conventional electronics use electrons to create these 1s and 0s in computer chips. The mushy memory device uses charged molecules called ions to do the same thing.

In each of the memory device's circuits, the metal alloy is the circuit's electrode and sits on either side of a conductive piece of gel. When the alloy electrode is exposed to a positive charge it creates an oxidized skin that makes it resistive to electricity. We'll call that the 0. When the electrode is exposed to a negative charge, the oxidized skin disappears, and it becomes conducive to electricity. We'll call that the 1.

Normally, whenever a negative charge is applied to one side of the electrode, the positive charge would move to the other side and create another oxidized skin -- meaning the electrode would always be resistive. To solve that problem, the researchers "doped" one side of the gel slab with a polymer that prevents the formation of a stable oxidized skin. That way one electrode is always conducive -- giving the device the 1s and 0s it needs for electronic memory.

The paper was published online July 4 by Advanced Materials. The paper was co-authored by NC State Ph.D. students Hyung-Jun Koo and Ju-Hee So, and NC State INVISTA Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Orlin Velev. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

NC State's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is part of the university's College of Engineering.

Для печати

New Material Lets Electrons 'Dance' and Form New State

Cod Resurgence in Canadian Waters

Fundamental Matter-Antimatter Symmetry Confirmed

First True View of Global Erosion

NASA's WISE Finds Earth's First 'Trojan' Asteroid

Engineers Fly World's First 'Printed' Aircraft

Scientist Converts Human Skin Cells Into Functional Brain Cells

Rainforest Plant Developed 'Sonar Dish' to Attract Pollinating Bats

Sea Level Rise Less from Greenland, More from Antarctica, Than Expected During Last Interglacial

How Bats Stay On Target Despite the Clutter

Fall of the Neanderthals: Volume of Modern Humans Infiltrating Europe Cited as Critical Factor

Largest-Ever Map of Plant Protein Interactions

Some Plants Duplicate Their DNA to Overcome Adversity

mac keyboard for android

Menu
Diamonds Pinpoint Start of Colliding Continents

Researchers Identify Seventh and Eighth Bases of DNA

Fool's Gold Gives Scientists Priceless Insight Into Earth's Evolution

Astronomers Discover Largest and Most Distant Reservoir of Water Yet

Major Step Toward Creating Faster Electronics Using Graphene

New Photonic Crystals Have Both Electronic and Optical Properties

Epigenetic 'Memory' Key to Nature Versus Nurture

Climate Change to Increase Yellowstone Wildfires Dramatically

Retinal Cells Thoughts to Be the Same Are Not, Biologist Says

Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas

Mitochondria Share an Ancestor With SAR11, a Globally Significant Marine Microbe

Drug Shown to Improve Sight for Patients With Inherited Blindness

Elliptical Galaxies Are Not Dead

Hubble Constant: A New Way to Measure the Expansion of the Universe

Enceladus Rains Water Onto Saturn

Engineers Develop One-Way Transmission System for Sound Waves

Researchers Graft Olfactory Receptors Onto Nanotubes

New Invisibility Cloak Hides Objects from Human View

Bionic Microrobot Mimics the 'Water Strider' and Walks On Water

How Memory Is Lost: Loss of Memory Due to Aging May Be Reversible

Reservoirs of Ancient Lava Shaped Earth

Wave Power Can Drive Sun's Intense Heat

Social Deficits Associated With Autism, Schizophrenia Induced in Mice With New Technology

Tundra Fires Could Accelerate Climate Warming

Chandra X-Ray Observatory Images Gas Flowing Toward Black Hole