Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Power advancements in tiny electronics

Consumer electronics seem to be getting smaller by the day, with size becoming an increasingly poor indication of gadgets' power requirements and capabilities.

Computer scientists and engineers at the Virginia Commonwealth University are taking a new spin on data storage with the development of spin-based electronics, dubbed ‘spintronics’ for short. The technology is said to be able to supersede the limitations of Moore’s Law due to the lower energy requirements of storing information in the spin of an electron, instead of in its charge.

Electrochemists at the St Louis University are taking another approach to the issue of power. A research team is currently developing fuel cell technology that uses enzymes to extract energy from virtually any sugar source. This essentially means that any sugar solution, from soft drinks to plant sap, may soon be used to power portable electronics like cellular phones, laptops, and sensors.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Delft University of Technology are looking to make batteries smaller in order to improve their operation. A team of applied scientists are developing nanoscale batteries that are expected to deliver more usage between charges, and shorter charge/discharge times, to mobile consumers and users of electric vehicles within the next five years.

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