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  • Carbon nanotubes enable light to speed up to computer processes

    Knovel - 02/26/2014

    With the ever-increasing desire for faster, smaller and more powerful computers, developments in engineering information technology are in high demand. Researchers at Northeastern University have taken a step toward making speedier digital devices by using carbon nanotubes in electronic systems, according to a news release.

    Yung Joon Jung, an associate professor in NU’s Department of Mechanical and Indus­trial Engineering, collaborated with Swastik Kar, assis­tant professor of physics at the university, to examine the interaction of carbon nanotubes and silicon with electrical currents triggered by light. The two found more significant increases in the current in this system than in conventional pho­to­diode apparatuses.

    “That sharp rise helps us design devices that can be turned on and off using light,” Kar said.

    With the help of this discovery, Kar and Jung were able to develop several innovative devices. For instance, the team created an OR-gate that, true to its name, can yield an output when either of a pair of optical triggers are activated. The researchers also made an AND-gate, which functions when both optical and electronic signals are operative.