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Self configurable nanomaterial

Reconfigurable nanomaterial
As electronic devices are built at very small level they lose their properties and begin to be controlled by quantum mechanical phenomena. To over come this degradation circuits are built into multiple dimensions by stacking components on top of one another.
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new nanomaterial with reconfigurable electronic properties so that they can rearrange themselves to meet different computational needs at different times.
This technology allows direct current to flow through a piece of continuous material and streams of electrons can be steered either in multiple directions or in multiple streams flowing in opposing directions at the same time through a block of the material. This has made possible that combines different aspects of silicon- and polymer-based electronics to create nanoparticle-based electronic materials.
According to the researchers the materials besides acting as three-dimensional bridges between existing technologies, its reversible nature could allow a computer to redirect and adapt its own circuitry to what is required at a specific moment in time.
This means that a single device can reconfigure itself into a resistor, a rectifier, a diode and a transistor in response to signals from a computer. The multi-dimensional circuitry could be reconfigured into new electronic circuits using a varied input sequence of electrical pulses.
Hybrid material
The hybrid material is composed of electrically conductive particles, each five nanometers in width and coated with a special positively charged chemical. The particles are surrounded by negatively charged atoms that balance out the positive charges fixed on the particles.
Process of making components
By applying an electrical charge across the material, the small negative atoms can be moved and reconfigured, but the relatively larger positive particles are not able to move.
By moving these negative atoms around the material, regions of low and high conductance can be modulated; the result is the creation of a directed path that allows electrons to flow through the material. Old paths can be erased and new paths created by pushing and pulling the negative atoms between larger, positively charged nanoparticles which are fixed in place. The regions of high and low ionic concentration allow for the material to become either more or less conductive in those areas. By controlling how the ions are distributed, one can control how current flows. More complex electrical components, such as diodes and transistors, can be made when multiple types of nanoparticles are used.
The development could lead to a computer that can simply reconfigure its internal wiring and become an entirely different device, based on changing needs. A single device can reconfigure itself into a resistor, a rectifier, a diode and a transistor in response to signals from a computer.

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