Technology For Sustainable Energy Future

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Researchers achieved a breakthrough in developing an energy-efficient data transport system using atomically-thin semiconductors.

Computers account for a significant share of all globally available electricity. The energy which comes with a massive financial and environmental cost. And the amount of electricity consumed by computing systems is predicted to double every 10 years due to the increasing demand for computing. Moreover, the computing systems, data-centers, etc. account for at least two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

A significant amount of energy is wasted in the form of heat in computer systems. “Since producing, storing, and supplying energy always comes with a cost, including air pollution and climate change as a result of burning fossil fuels, it is extremely important we reduce our electricity usage for a more sustainable future,” Ph.D. scholar Matthias Wurdack, from the ANU Research School of Physics, said.

Researchers from the Australian National University have developed a system to transport data using atomically-thin semiconductors in an energy-efficient way. The energy efficiency is achieved by mixing excitons—electrons bound with electron holes—with light in one-atom thin semiconductors, which are around 100,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.

This new technology has shown highly promising signs of requiring less electricity to run by not giving off any heat, meaning no energy is wasted.

According to the researchers, their work could one day help power next-gen computers and smartphones that consume less electricity than current devices.

The research appeared in the journal Nature Communications.


 

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