Building Tunable Matter

Scientists have a new periodic table to work with--and it's made up of nanoparticles

3 min read

2 July 2003—Researchers from IBM, Columbia University, and the University of New Orleans have caused nanometer-sized magnetic and semiconducting particles to assemble themselves into a novel material that may have properties not found in nature. The group announced the research in the 26 June issue of Nature .

The team took advantage of a natural tendency for matter to organize itself when it is in the right physical and chemical conditions. They simmered 11-nm-wide magnetic iron oxide particles and 6-nm-wide spheres of semiconducting lead selenide particles in a soup of solvent until the particles assembled themselves into crystals with a cubic structure [see photo]. The researchers are now trying to determine whether the new crystal—a so-called metamaterial—will retain both the magnetic properties of iron oxide and the tunable optic properties of lead selenide quantum dots or whether it will show unique magnetoptical properties emergent from the assembly, which could have applications in future computing technology.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.


The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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