Highly Sensitive Sensors Show Promise in Enhancing Human Touch

People rely on a highly tuned sense of touch to manipulate objects, but injuries to the skin and the simple act of wearing gloves can impair this ability. In this week’s Applied Physics Reviews, scientists report the development of a new tactile-enhancement system based on a highly sensitive sensor. The sensor has remarkable sensitivity, allowing the wearer to detect the light brush of a feather. This crack-based sensor was inspired by a spider’s slit organ.

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Reinventing the Computer: Brain-Inspired Computing for a Post-Moore’s Law Era

Since 1947, computing development has seen a consistent doubling of the number of transistors that can fit on a chip. But that trend, Moore’s Law, may reach its limit as components of submolecular size encounter problems with thermal noise, making further scaling impossible. In this week’s Applied Physics Reviews, researchers present an examination of the computing landscape, focusing on functions needed to advance brain-inspired neuromorphic computing.

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Communications Device Offers Huge Bandwidth Potential

Several countries are building futuristic communication systems using higher frequency electromagnetic waves to transfer more data at faster rates, but they have lacked network components to handle these higher bandwidths. Researcher J. Gary Eden proved his new device can rapidly switch functionality to perform the varied tasks needed to support a network with carrier frequencies of over 100 gigahertz. The miniscule-scale architecture concealed within the sugar cube blocks is described in Applied Physics Reviews.

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Ternary Acceptor and Donor Materials Increase Photon Harvesting in Organic Solar Cells

Organic solar cells are steadily improving as new materials are developed for the active layer, and a paper published this week in Applied Physics Reviews presents a practical guide for selecting materials for ternary organic solar cells. The authors set out to employ component engineering to extend the light absorption and efficiency of solar cells in a simple, physical way instead of the complicated process of synthesizing new semiconductors.

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