Beating to the sound of a different drum
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Microscopic components that could lead to smaller, faster and more powerful technologies for mobile phones and sensors have been developed by manipulating the properties of two-dimensional arrays of silicon nitride membranes.
Modern electronic devices rely on mechanical components that use sound waves to filter or delay signals. However, these components are sensitive to structural defects and sharp turns that weaken the signal and limit their functionality, restricting further miniaturization and the available bandwidth.
Now, a physicist from the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, KAIST, and two co-workers have created devices made from silicon nitride drums just 90 nanometres thick arranged in grids, with each grid having different properties.
A thousand times thinner than a human hair and vibrating up to tens of millions of times per second, these components could find use in sensors, mobile phones and quantum computing.
- Nature 564, 229–240 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0764-0