With the ever-​​increasing desire for faster, smaller and more pow­erful com­puters, devel­op­ments in engi­neering infor­ma­tion tech­nology are in high demand. Researchers at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity have taken a step toward making speedier dig­ital devices by using carbon nan­otubes in elec­tronic sys­tems, according to a news release.

Yung Joon Jung, an asso­ciate pro­fessor in NU’s Depart­ment of Mechan­ical and Indus­trial Engi­neering, col­lab­o­rated with Swastik Kar, assis­tant pro­fessor of physics at the uni­ver­sity, to examine the inter­ac­tion of carbon nan­otubes and sil­icon with elec­trical cur­rents trig­gered by light. The two found more sig­nif­i­cant increases in the cur­rent in this system than in con­ven­tional pho­to­diode apparatuses.

That sharp rise helps us design devices that can be turned on and off using light,” Kar said.

With the help of this dis­covery, Kar and Jung were able to develop sev­eral inno­v­a­tive devices. For instance, the team cre­ated an OR-​​gate that, true to its name, can yield an output when either of a pair of optical trig­gers are acti­vated. The researchers also made an AND-​​gate, which func­tions when both optical and elec­tronic sig­nals are operative.

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