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The 5 next trends in electronics

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The era of electronics began with the invention of the transistor in 1947 and silicon-based semiconductor technology.Seven decades later,we are surrounded by electronic

devices and,much as we try to deny it, we rely on them in our everyday lives.The performance of silicon-based devices has improved rapidly in the past few decades, mostly due to novel processing and patterning technologies, while nanotechnology has allowed for miniaturization and cost reduction.

For many years silicon remained the only option in electronics. But recent developments in materials-engineering and nanotechnology have introduced new pathways for electronics. While traditional silicon electronics will remain the main focus, alternative trends are emerging. These include:

2-D electronics

Interest in the field started with the discovery of graphene, a structural variant of carbon. Carbon atoms in graphene form a hexagonal two-dimensional lattice, and this atom-thick layer has attracted attention due to its high electrical and thermal conductivity, mechanical flexibility and very high tensile strength. Graphene is the strongest material ever tested.

Organic electronics

The development of conducting polymers and their applications resulted in another Nobel prize in 2000, this time in chemistry. Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa proved that plastic can conduct electricity.

Memristors

In 1971 Leon Chua reasoned from symmetry arguments that there should be a fourth fundamental electronic circuit-board element (in addition to the resistor, capacitor and inductor) which he called memristor, a portmanteau of the words memory and resistor. Although Chua showed that memristors have many interesting and valuable properties, it wasn’t until 2007 that a group of researchers from Hewlett Packard Labs found that the memristance effect can be present in nanoscale systems under certain conditions. Many researchers believe that memristors could end electronics as we know it and begin a new era of “ionics”.

Spintronics

Spintronics, a portmanteau word meaning “spin transport electronics”, is the use of a fundamental property of particles known as “electron spin” for information processing. Electron spin can be detected as a magnetic field with one of two orientations: up and down. This provides an additional two binary states to the conventional low and high logic values, which are represented by simple currents. Carrying information in both the charge and spin of an electron potentially offers devices with a greater diversity of functionality.

Molecular electronics

The ultimate goal of electrical circuits is miniaturization. Also known as single molecule electronics, this is a branch of nanotechnology that uses single molecules or collections of single molecules as electronic building blocks.

Molecular electronics and the organic electronics described above have a lot in common, and these two fields overlap each other in some aspects. To clarify, organic electronics refers to bulk applications, while molecular-scale electronics refers to nano-scale, single-molecule applications.

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