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Tiny Tech Production May Ease Congestion Over Airways

nanotechnology, manufacturing
A nanoresonator viewed through a scanning electron microscope. (Image credit: Purdue University)

This Research in Action article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation have learned how to mass produce mechanical devices that could help make dropped calls and slow downloads a thing of the past. This image from a scanning electron microscope shows the tiny device, which is designed to ease congestion over the airwaves to improve the performance of cell phones and other mobile devices. The nanoelectromechanical resonators contain a tiny beam of silicon that vibrates when voltage is applied. The Purdue University researchers showed that the devices are produced with a nearly 100 percent yield — meaning nearly all of the devices created on silicon wafers functioned properly.

"We are not inventing a new technology, we are making them using a process that's amenable to large-scale fabrication, which overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to the widespread commercial use of these devices," said Jeffrey Rhoads, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Learn more: 'Nanoresonators' might improve cell phone performance

Editor's Note: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the Research in Action archive.