SemiconductorEngineers have created a high-frequency electronic chip potentially capable of transmitting tens of gigabits of data per second, much faster than the fastest internet available today.

Omeed Momeni, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of California, Davis, and doctoral student Hossein Jalili designed the chip using a phased array antenna system. Phased array systems funnel the energy from multiple sources into a single beam that can be narrowly steered and directed to a specific location.

“Phased arrays are pretty difficult to create, especially at higher frequencies,” Momeni says. “We are the first to achieve this much bandwidth at this frequency.”

The chip prototyped by Momeni and Jalili successfully operates at 370 GHz with 52 GHz of bandwidth. For comparison, FM radio waves broadcast between 87.5 and 108 MHz; 4G and LTE cellular networks generally function between 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz with up to 20 MHz of bandwidth.

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Silly putty isn’t just for kids anymore.

Researchers in Ireland combined the classic kid’s toy with a special form of carbon to create a new material that has potential applications in medical devices such as heart monitors.


About 70 years ago, scientists came up with the recipe for silly putty as a substitute for rubber. The resulting formula yielded strange properties, but not many applications. However, by taking the strange silly putty formula and mixing it with graphene, the new mixture showed remarkable electrical, bouncy, liquid-like properties.

Editors' ChoiceThree new Editors’ Choice articles have been published recently in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) and ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS).

An Editors’ Choice article is a special designation applied by the Journals’ Editorial Board to any article type. Editors’ Choice articles are transformative and represent a substantial advance or discovery, either experimental or theoretical. The work must show a new direction, a new concept, a new way of doing something, a new interpretation, or a new field, and not merely preliminary data.

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Join Additional Primary Divisions!

Attention prospective and current ECS members! Did you know? As of this year, you can belong to more than one primary division!

Divisions

Each ECS division corresponds to a topical interest area. ECS has seven electrochemistry divisions and six solid state science and technology divisions:

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Invisible wood

Image: University of Maryland

Wood has been a key building block for much of history infrastructure. While we may have witnessed wood fade out in lieu of other materials in more recent times, it’s about to make a comeback in an unexpected way.

Past ECS member Liangbing Hu of the University of Maryland, College Park is developing a stronger, transparent wood that can be used in place of less environmentally friendly materials such as plastic.

But this development’s novelty really lies in the transparency factor. So many structures built today rely on the use of glass and steel. By replacing those building materials with the transparent wood, the world of design could be revolutionized while heating costs and fuel consumption rates are simultaneously reduced.

This from CNN:

Hu describes the process of creating clear wood in two steps: First, the lignin — an organic substance found in vascular plants — is chemically removed. This is the same step used in manufacturing pulp for paper. The lignin is responsible for the “yellow-ish” color of wood. The second step is to inject the channels, or veins of the wood by filling it with an epoxy — which can be thought of as strengthening agent, Hu says.

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Discussing the importance of cyber security

Cyber Security via IStockWhile cyberwar may sound like the plot of the latest sci-fi blockbuster, the realities of the phenomena are much more palpable. Few understand that better than Yaw Obeng, ECS member and senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In light of the 2014 hack on Sony Pictures, the suspected Russian hacking of U.S. Democratic National Committee emails, and the data breach of the U.S. government, in which the personal information of 21.5 million government employees was leaked, the scientists at NIST – specifically researchers like Obeng – have been shifting their attention to cyber security.

“Right now, everything that can be attached to the internet has been attached to the internet – right down to toothbrushes,” says Obeng, ECS Dielectric Science and Technology Division chair. “The question then becomes: How do we make sure that these devices are secure so they cannot be hijacked or compromised?”

(MORE: Read Obeng’s paper on this topic published in ECS Transactions.)

The answer to that question, however, may not be as simple as some would hope.

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As the landscape of energy harvesting evolves, so do the devices that store that energy. According to researchers from Toyohashi University, all-solid-state lithium rechargeable batteries are at the top of the list of promising future energy storage technologies due to their high energy density, safety, and extreme cycle stability.

ECS member Yoji Sakurai and a team from the university’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering recently published a paper detailing their development to advance the all-solid-state batteries, which pushes past barriers related to electrochemical performance.

(MORE: Read Sakurai’s previously published paper in ECS Electrochemistry Letters.)

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Tired of slow internet connections and download speeds? Well, you may be in luck. According to an article from Popular Science, some researchers are looking toward LED technology to replace Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is essentially a series of waves traveling along a narrow, electromagnetic spectrum. The more users, the more crowded and congested the spectrum gets, and the more crowded, the slower connection speeds become. The problem, however, is that researchers cannot create more spectrum to allow the waves to pass faster.

Because of this, some are looking to another solution: LEDs.

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JSS Editors’ Choice article discusses AlGaN/GaN HEMTs

When it comes to putting technology in space, size and mass are prime considerations. High-power gallium nitride-based high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) are appealing in this regard because they have the potential to replace bulkier, less efficient transistors, and are also more tolerant of the harsh radiation environment of space. Compared to similar aluminum gallium arsenide/gallium arsenide HEMTs, the gallium nitride-based HEMTs are ten times more tolerant of radiation-induced displacement damage.

Until recently, scientists could only guess why this phenomena occurred: Was the gallium nitride material system itself so inherently disordered that adding more defects had scant effect? Or did the strong binding of gallium and nitrogen atoms to their lattice sites render the atoms more difficult to displace?

The answer, according to scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory, is none of the above.

Examining radiation response

In a recent open access article published in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology entitled, “On the Radiation Tolerance of AlGaN/GaN HEMTs,” the team of researchers from NRL state that by studying the effect of proton irradiation on gallium nitride-based HEMTs with a wide range of initial threading dislocation defectiveness, they found that the pre-irradiation material quality had no effect on radiation response.

Additionally, the team discovered that the order-of-magnitude difference in radiation tolerance between gallium arsenide- and gallium nitride-based HEMTs is much too large to be explained by differences in binding energy. Instead, they noticed that radiation-induced disorder causes the carrier mobility to decrease and the scattering rate to increase as expected, but the carrier concentration remains significantly less affected than it should be.

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We’re delving into our archives as part of our continuing Masters Series podcasts. In 1995, ECS and the Chemical Heritage Foundation worked to compile various oral histories of some of the biggest names in electrochemical and solid state science.

One of those key figures was Norman Hackerman, a giant among giants. Hackerman was a world renowned scientist, an outstanding educator, a highly successful administrator, and a champion for basic research. Hear his voice once again as he tells colorful stories of the science, his life, and everything in between.

Listen and download these episodes and others for free through the iTunes Store, SoundCloud, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher.

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