Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas have created technology that could be the first step toward wearable computers with self-contained power sources or, more immediately, a smartphone that doesn’t die after a few hours of heavy use. The technology taps into the power of a single electron to control energy consumption inside transistors, which are at the core of most modern electronic systems.
Researchers found that by adding a specific atomic thin film layer to a transistor, the layer acted as a filter for the energy that passed through it at room temperature. The signal that resulted from the device was six to seven times steeper than that of traditional devices. Steep devices use less voltage but still have a strong signal.
To create this technology, researchers added a chromium oxide thin film onto the device. That layer, at room temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, filtered the cooler, stable electrons and provided stability to the device. Another innovation used to create this technology was a vertical layering system that would be more practical as devices get smaller.