Soothsayers of Electronics Industry

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If you are a part of electronics academia, you should be inquisitive to know the future of electronics industry. Why not? Starting from computers as huge as the size of a room to the cooler and slimmer ones fitting right on your palms, electronics have come a long way and is evolving every day. Electronics industry has witnessed a lot- from small scale integration (SSI) which seems like a history now to very very large scale integration (VVLSI), the talk of the modern world. The time has come to explore new raw materials and geniuses have already come up with new classes of materials that might shape the future of electronics industry. Let us get introduced to some of them.

Graphene Aerogel

Balancing on grass blades or taking the appearance of frozen smoke, aerogels have been blowing our minds and now researchers from Zhejiang University have come up with a new graphene aerogel. It not only supports substances that weigh 6,000 times its own weight but also is strong, resilient and conductive making it perfect material for flexible electronics and many more applications. Learning from a plant’s complex structure, the team used bidirectional freezing to mimic its architecture in graphene aerogel. They placed the aerogel in circuit with an LED and applied compression strains and found that the aerogel remained conductive even when compressed proving its worth for flexible electronics and sensors.

Eco-friendly conducting plastic

Cheap, flexible and sustainable plastic semiconductors will be a real thing soon, thanks to the chemists at the University of Waterloo. They have developed a technique to make conjugated polymers plastics that conduct electricity like metals using a chemical reaction, the byproduct of which is only water. The team applied this reaction to create poly(hetero)arenes – one of the classes of conjugated polymers which have been used to make low-cost electronics such as LED displays and biochemical sensors.

Self-healing glass

If you are fond of Marvel’s hero Wolverine and his self-healing ability, you are going to love this glass developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo. Yes, this glass has the superpower to heal itself when you press it together. Like many other great scientific discoveries, this too was accidental. Researchers were studying new adhesives when one of the members discovered that the polymer they were examining to use as a glue had the ability to adhere to itself when cut, compressed and held together for 30 seconds at room temperature. They further worked on it and found out that the polymer has a robust structure like glass. This material might one day be used in screens of mobiles, tablets, laptops and we will finally be able to say goodbye to broken screens.

F-POSS- It is everything proof

Have you ever spilled coffee on your laptop or dropped your phone dead in water? Maybe yes and you are not the only one. However, there might be a future when we do not have to worry about it anymore. A team of researchers from the University of Michigan has created an omniphobic coating that is everything–proof in nature by combining fluorinated polyurethane and fluorodecyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (F-POSS). It will take some time for this incredible coating to be made available in the market due to the usage of rare and expensive materials to manufacture it. However, the scientists are already on it and with the manufacturers scaling up the product, it will lower the cost.

New quantum material

Physicists at the University of California, Irvine and other institutes in US and China have fabricated a new two-dimensional quantum material that displays both electrical and magnetic properties. This quantum material can create electricity nearly at the speed of light and is expected to become building blocks of future quantum computers and other advanced electronics. They fabricated another quantum material-an exotic superconductor that breaks time-reversal symmetry using bismuth and nickel. After getting a glimpse of the potential of new quantum materials, scientists are now looking forward to making them more practical for use in revolutionary but not yet built quantum computers.