Scientists Develop Thin Films to Help Power Internet of Things

Scientists have designed printable, organic thin films inspired by the human brain, to help power Internet of Things. Internet of Things (IoT), according to a new study published in journal Advanced Functional Materials on January 15, 2018.

The demand for Internet of Things is on the rise due to increasing demand for smart communication environment between smart homes, smart transportation, and smart healthcare systems, as elaborated in Internet of Things security market report published by Coherent Market Insights. The development of this chip will help fasten growth the IoT.

Scientists of Indian origin have developed an organic thin film for ‘neuromorphic’ computers inspired by the human brain, with an aim to power Internet of Things, which require components and chips that can handle huge quantities of data.

The scientists observed the fast transition in computer chips and predicted that the chips would be miniaturized to the size of only a few nanometers, with the capacity to analyze and store massive amounts of data, require ample of energy.

Sayani Majumdar, from the Aalto University in Finland, along with her colleagues, designed and fabricated the basic building blocks of ‘neuromorphic’ computers inspired by the human brain.

A single autonomous device such as a smart watch, a cleaning robot, or a driverless car would produce gigabytes of data each day, whereas an airbus may have over 10,000 sensors in one wing alone.

“The technology and design of neuromorphic computing is advancing more rapidly than its rival revolution, quantum computing,” said Majumdar. “The key is to achieve the extreme energy-efficiency of a biological brain and mimic the way neural networks process information through electric impulses,” she said.

The team fabricated a new breed of ferroelectric tunnel junctions, which are a few-nanometer-thick sandwiched between two electrodes.

The newly developed film has abilities beyond existing technologies as well as is designed to be energy-efficient and stable. The junctions work in low voltages of less than five volts and with a variety of electrode materials, including silicon used in chips in most of our electronics. They also can retain data for over 10 years without power and be manufactured in normal conditions.

“Our junctions are made out of organic hydro-carbon materials and they would reduce the amount of toxic heavy metal waste in electronics. We can also make thousands of junctions a day in room temperature without them suffering from the water or oxygen in the air. What we are striving for now, is to integrate millions of our tunnel junction memristors into a network on a one square centimeter area,” said Majumdar.

Researchers hope that these memristors will have the potential to perform complex tasks such as image and pattern recognition, also making decisions autonomously.

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