If you think about the technological promise of the future, you could say that our innovative advancements have just begun. There’s still so much more to look forward to, and what happens in science fiction stories may not be so farfetched after all.
Researchers at Rice University are currently working on transparent, flexible memory chips that could bring see-through mobile devices to life.
“The new type of memory could combine with the likes of transparent electrodes developed at Rice for flexible touchscreens and transparent integrated circuits and batteries developed at other labs in recent years,” says chemist James Tour.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recently validated a physical basis for terahertz bandwidth. They successfully generated a frequency comb with 100 terahertz bandwidth, which is equivalent to 1 trillion cycles per second. This is a breakthrough in traditional electronic and optical devices research, which used to rely heavily on the function of light or applying information to a light wave. If this rolls out into the commercial world, it will make smartphones and laptops a thousand times faster than current speeds.
“The ability to modulate light with such a bandwidth could increase the amount of information carried by more than 1,000 times when compared to the volume carried with today’s technologies,” said Hrvoje Petek, professor of physics and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. “Needless to say, this has been a long-awaited discovery in the field.”
Another spectacular invention that will greatly impact the way we look at computing is the emergence of a quantum computer built inside a diamond. This is the first of its kind to include protection against a dangerous noise called quantum decoherence, a loss of ordering of the phase angles between the components of a system in a quantum superposition. The consequences of this dephasing lead to classical or probabilistically additive behavior. The research was conducted by a multinational team including figures from University of California and University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Although interactions between a quantum bit (‘qubit’) and its environment tend to corrupt the information it stores, it is possible to dynamically control qubits in a way that facilitates the execution of quantum information-processing algorithms while simultaneously protecting the qubits from environment-induced errors,” says physicist David Awschalom.
IBM is also researching quantum computing. They are working on a computer with very small transistors which interact at the atomic and molecular level. Quantum computing will make today’s supercomputers look like an Atari, and better yet, we may get to see it in this lifetime.
“Quantum computing has been a Holy Grail for researchers ever since Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, in 1981, challenged the scientific community to build computers based on quantum mechanics,” said IBM.