World's Smallest Demodulator First Step in Nanotube Radio

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University of California researchers Peter Burke and Chris Rutherglen recently unveiled the world's smallest demodulator. How small is it?


Itty bitty. Nigh microscopic. Beyond tiny. Or, to be more precise, thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, according to the BBC.


True, the petiteness of the carbon nanotube demodulator, which converts radio waves into audio signals, is offset by the fact that it's hooked up to an off-the-shelf differential amplifier the size of a car stereo. But as in all things nanotech, it's not the end product so much as the proof-of-concept that's important here. Burke and Rutherglen have demonstrated that nanoelectronics can be used in systems.


Eventually, the whole radio will be made of nanotubes and then imagine how small your iPod would be. The findings from the experiment will be published in the Nov. 14 issue of the American Chemical Society's Nano Letters. You can also view a video demonstration online (thanks to Extreme Tech for the link!).


Everybody's writing about this device, but I thought Wired's article was best. It goes beyond reporting the experiment to offer background on nanotube research, the potential implications - including one company's plans to use it with standard semiconductor technologies - and why it's so difficult to mass produce nanotechnology.


Burke made headlines for nanotube research in 2004, when he demonstrated that a nanotube could operate in the frequency range of microwaves.