Researchers use nanotube to build world's tiniest radio

The device is small enough to be used in human blood stream

Physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, have built the world's smallest radio out of single carbon nanotube one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair.

Researchers say the tiny radio needs only a battery and a pair of earphones to hook listeners up with their favorite radio stations. But that's not all the new device could be good for.

The radio's tiny size could make cell phones more efficient, or it even could be used in radio-controlled devices that flow through the human blood stream, according to a paper written in part by team leader Alex Zettl, a U.C. Berkeley professor of physics. Zettl also noted that he hopes to use the radio to replace cumbersome devices used today to identify atoms or even measure their mass, since the new radio can pick up on atoms jumping on and off the tip of the nanotube.

"We were just in ecstasy when this worked," said Zettl, in a written statement. "It was fantastic."

The device, which researchers are calling the nanoradio, is currently set up to act only as a receiver but could also work as a transmitter. U.C. Berkeley reported that the nanoradio is 100 billion times smaller than the first commercial radios.

Nanotubes are rolled-up sheets of interlocked carbon atoms that form a tube so strong that some scientists have suggested using a nanotube wire to tether satellites in a fixed position above Earth, according to Berkeley researchers.

In the nanoradio, one carbon nanotube serves as an antenna, a tuner, an amplifier and even a demodulator picking up both AM and FM frequencies -- an all-in-one radio. These are separate components in a standard radio.

A Berkeley release explained that the nanoradio uses a new method to detect radio signals: It vibrates thousands to millions of times per second in tune with the radio wave.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?