Germs That Build Circuits

With viruses serving as construction crews and DNA as the blueprint, biotechnology may hold the key to postlithography ICs

10 min read

Photo: Jason Grow
Angela Belcher, a materials scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is breeding microbes to assemble nanometer-scale structures that could be used in circuits.

By the time you read this, there's a good chance a virus has built a transistor. Last July, a crowd of microbiologists in New York City heard materials scientist Angela Belcher make a bold prediction: within six months, her laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge) would have genetically engineered a virus to coat itself in a crystalline semiconductor sheath and locate and bridge two electrodes--thus forming the critical part of a field-effect transistor, the kind on which most computer chips rely. If Belcher delivers, it will dramatically illustrate biology's promise in furthering nanotechnology, the manufacture of circuits and devices only billionths of a meter in size.

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What Is Wi-Fi 7?

Great capacity, less latency—here's how IEEE 802.11be achieves both

4 min read
A purple circle with the number 7 in the middle. Curved purple lines radiate out from the circle to the left and right.
Shutterstock

New generations of Wi-Fi have sprung onto the scene at a rapid pace in recent years. After a storied five-year presence, Wi-Fi 5 was usurped in 2019 by Wi-Fi 6, only for the latter to be toppled a year later in 2020 by an intermediate generation, Wi-Fi 6E. And now, just a couple years later, we’re on the verge of Wi-Fi 7.

Wi-Fi 7 (the official IEEE standard is 802.11be) may only give Wi-Fi 6 a scant few years in the spotlight, but it’s not just an upgrade for the sake of an upgrade. Several new technologies—and some that debuted in Wi-Fi 6E but haven’t entirely yet come into their own—will allow Wi-Fi 7 routers and devices to make full use of an entirely new band of spectrum at 6 gigahertz. This spectrum—first tapped into with Wi-Fi 6E—adds a third wireless band alongside the more familiar 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands.

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Video Friday: Robot Training

3 min read
A red bipedal robot with wheels for feet and hands stands upright at the top of steps with the city of Philadelphia in the background

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IEEE ARSO 2022: 28–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Writing UVM/SystemVerilog Testbenches for Analog/Mixed-Signal Verification

Join this webinar on how to write a UVM testbench for analog/mixed-signal circuits

1 min read
Learn how to write reusable SystemVerilog testbenches for analog/mixed-signal IPs, using standardized UVM components and Scientific Analog's XMODEL! Register for this free webinar now!
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