National Physical Laboratory

NPL research featured in New Scientist

A New Scientist article on the stagnation of computer processing power features the EMRP Nanostrain project, which is led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and supported by IBM.

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The Nanostrain project aims to provide traceable measurements of strain in piezoelectric (and other) materials at the nanometre length scale. Understanding how these materials work and how they can be exploited could drive the commercialisation of next generation electronic devices offering higher computing speeds and lower power consumption.

Piezoresistive materials change from conductors to insulators when subjected to mechanical strain. A piezoelectric material can provide this strain, and together they form the basis of the piezoelectronic transistor. The voltage required by a piezoelectric material to switch between the two states is far lower than that required by semiconductors such as silicon. This means piezoelectric transistors could consume 100 times less power and offer 10 times the processor speed of those made from conventional materials.

The New Scientist article describes the collaboration between European metrology institutions and industrial partners, including IBM, and quotes Markys Cain, Nanostrain coordinator and leader of the Functional Materials Research Group at NPL. Markys says the project partners have demonstrated piezoelectric switching at a scale of 100 nanometres and they're hoping to achieve results at even smaller length scales.

The Nanostrain project has previously been featured in an article in The Telegraph

Read the full article in New Scientist

Find out more about NPL's work on Functional Materials

For more information, please contact Markys Cain

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Last Updated: 12 Mar 2015
Created: 12 Mar 2015


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