Scientists have discovered the thinnest glass in the world! The applications of the discovery are in multiple areas like nanotechnology and transistors. A breakthrough in transistor technology has led to smaller computers and smartphones in the past.
According to a report from Live Science, the discovery was made by accident. Researchers at the Cornell University and University of Ulm were trying to create graphene, one of the world's thinnest and strongest materials.
The newly discovered thinnest glass of the world has also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records! The 2014 edition of the book features the discovery made by researchers that could be of interest for smartphone manufacturers!
One of the main reasons why computers have reduced in size is a breakthrough in transistor technology. Computers used to be huge, occupying a whole room. Then silicon was used as the material to make transistors. The technology was inexpensive to manufacture and easier to miniaturise. This has led to smaller computers and sleeker smartphones. But researchers agree that there is a limit to the ability of silicon.
Take the "Atom" smartphone chip from Intel for example. The transistors on the chip are silicon based and the chip is reported to be in layered form. The 3D transistors are stacked and look like a small house. The chip is said to improve battery life and performance. The stacked approach was reportedly taken to improve efficiency as the chips get smaller. The limitation of silicon transistors is that the smaller they get the less efficient they become.
The barriers between "on" and "off" get so thin, that the transistor may not be always off. This happens because there is some power leakage through heat. Laptops heating up are precisely due to this reason.
Scientists are on a constant lookout to find a material which is cost effective and can be more efficient than the silicon based transistors. This is especially important to make devices smaller and sleeker.
"Glass" is touted to be the material of the future. The properties of glass are still not fully understood by scientists. Glass behaves both as a solid as well as a liquid. It is normal for a solid material to have its atom arranged rigidly when cooled. Glass appears to be solid but its atoms are loosely arranged.
Will the new discovery pave the way for better transistors? Like thinner transistors that don't get too hot quickly? Tech enthusiasts wait for the next big technological revolution!
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