Sunday April 23, 2017

Researchers Build a Microprocessor from Flexible Materials

It’s still weak sauce, having only 115 transistors, but researchers have managed to build a working (I presume) microprocessor out of transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD), a flexible, graphene-like material. The point, of course, is tech that can go toward future bendable devices, such as tablets or smartphones. TMD and graphene are capable of flexing due to their two-dimensional makeup: they are made with crystals just one layer of atoms or molecules thick.

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With only 115 transistors, their processor isn't going to top any benchmark rankings, but it's "a first step towards the development of microprocessors based on 2D semiconductors," the researchers at Vienna University of Technology said in a paper published in the journal Nature this month. Two-dimensional materials have the benefit of flexibility, meaning that they can be incorporated more easily into wearable devices or connected sensors, and potentially making them less breakable: Picture a smartphone that bends rather than breaks if you drop it.