Resonator (via Purdue)
Researchers working at Purdue believe tiny mechanical devices, more specifically nanoelectromechanical resonators, could help avoid drop calls and improve downloads. Due to so many people chatting, downloading, and surfing the web on their mobile devices, the traffic over the radio spectrum could sometimes become just as congested as rush hour. As a result, calls get dropped, degraded quality over the line, and downloads will make you feel like your a generation behind. The researchers at Purdue are looking to solve that problem using nanoresonators to create more precisely defined channels so that more can be available within the defined bandwidth.
Jeffrey Rhoads, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, stated, “We are not inventing new technology, we are making them using a process that's amenable to large-scale fabrication, which overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread commercial use of these devices.” The devices created by the team are made using a tiny silicon beam which vibrates when a voltage is applied. The beam is about 2 microns long and 130 nanometers wide, that's 1000 times smaller than a human hair!
The researchers have went on to show that they can produce the devices with a nearly 100 yield. Being created on silicon wafers through silicon-on-insulator fabrication, nearly every device functioned correctly. The team also believes the devices could have future uses in advanced chemical and biological sensors as well. Due to the miniscule design, if a particle hits the beam, analyzing the frequency change could allow scientists to measure minute masses. There has been no information on when they will go into wide spread use, however they can get the job done with better performance and lower power consumption, so it will only be a matter of time until they become commercialized.