World’s smallest electronic circuit has big implications


SCIENTISTS from McGill University and Sandia National Laboratories have engineered one of the world’s smallest electronic circuits.

The circuit is formed by two wires separated by 15nm. It could have a significant effect on the speed and power of the ever smaller integrated circuits of the future in everything from smartphones to desktop computers, televisions and GPS systems.

According to the scientists, this is the first time anyone has studied how the wires in an electronic circuit interact with one another when packed so tightly together.

They found that the effect of one wire on the other can be either positive or negative. This means that a current in one wire can produce a current in the other one that is either in the same or the opposite direction.

The discovery is based on the principles of quantum physics, and means scientists and engineers may need to revise the understanding of how even the simplest electronic circuits behave at the nanoscale.

The discovery could also have implications on managing the increasing amount of heat produced by integrated circuits. It may be possible to harness the energy lost as heat in one wire by using other wires nearby.

The research results have been published here.