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Phase-Change Nanowires Used As A Power-Free Frequency Synthesizers For IoT and 5G Networks


A team of researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania have jointly found a way of fast and power-free way of frequency tuning using functional nanowires. The research was published on 18th March in the Journal of Nature Communications.

This concept of matching the frequencies of transmitters and receivers is crucial for Telecommunications technology and establishing connections. A large number of different operating frequencies requires the ability to reliably synthesise frequencies and rapidly switch between them is extremely important for seamless connectivity. Frequency matching is achieved when both ends of the communication link tune in to the same frequency channel and establish a link.

The existing approach to tuning frequencies required applying mechanical stress which was both slower and power-intensive whereas in the newly proposed method the researchers have used chalcogenide glass (germanium telluride) to fabricate vibrating nano strings that resonate at predetermined frequencies. To change the mechanical stiffness of the material, researchers alter the atomic structure of the material in order to tune the frequency of these resonators.

‘By changing how atoms bond with each other in these glasses, we are able to change Young’s modulus within a few nanoseconds. Young’s modulus is a measure of stiffness, and it directly affects the frequency at which the nano string vibrate,’ Said Utku Emre Ali, a student at the University of Oxford who worked on this research as a part of his doctoral.

According to the estimations made by the researchers, their approach could achieve 10-100 times faster tuning while operating a million times more efficiently than any currently available commercial frequency synthesisers.

‘This study creates a new framework that uses functional materials whose fundamental mechanical property can be changed using an electrical pulse. This is exciting and our hope is that it inspires further development of new materials that are optimized for such applications.’ Said Professor Harish Bhaskaran, Department of Materials, the University of Oxford who led the work.

The full paper is published here

 





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