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CANEL — Result In Brief

Project ID: 003673
Funded under: FP6-IST
Country: Sweden

Nanotechnology pushes the forefront of electromechanics

Miniature electromechanical devices and their components are set to reshape the way circuitry and electronics are developed. This will lead to improved chemical sensors, scanning devices and much more.
Nanotechnology pushes the forefront of electromechanics
Technology can benefit significantly from ever-smaller electromechanical systems. These systems use less energy, can be more sensitive and apply to a range of fields. The ultimate reduction in such systems is described as nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), representing miniaturised electrical and mechanical functionality at the nano-scale. Such technology integrates mechanical actuators (e.g. pumps or motors) with transistor-like nanoelectronics. It can be used for applications such as sensors to detect stresses, forces and vibrations at the atomic level, as well as chemical signals. Better scanning devices ranging from the medical field to safety also stand to benefit from this miniaturisation.

Much of NEMS technology is based on carbon nanotubes - tiny structural forms made from cylindrical carbon molecules. These have properties which are extremely useful in electronics, optics, nanotechnology and science in general. These nanotube structures, also known as carbon allotropes, combine extraordinary strength with low mass, extending the range of NEMS far beyond the present limits.

An EU-funded project has focused on how to integrate 'Carbon-based nanoelectromechanical devices' with silicon technology, with emphasis on applications in information technology such as switches and memory. The researchers succeeded in modelling, measuring and establishing the viability to fabricate this novel technology.

These pioneering results lay the groundwork for a whole new 'minute' level of upcoming technology.

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