U.S. researchers are developing a new approach to assemble nanoscale hardware by enabling IoT devices to generate and receive purer signals that reduce adjacent transmission interference.
With vehicles communicating to embedded monitors alongside roadways to better route traffic, and home appliances connected to the smart grid to improve efficiency and reliability, sufficient frequency spectrum is needed to connect the assorted devices.
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in collaboration with Draper, a non-profitable research and development company, started the NanoLitz project to free up frequency spectrum needed to connect devices.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory are funding the NanoLitz work as a part of the Atoms to Product (A2P) effort to find new ways to assemble nanoscale materials that cannot be accomplished with current techniques.
The results could be applied to tools that enable humans to scale sheer walls, stealth technology, and ultra-small position, navigation and timing devices.
The NanoLitz approach braids microscopic wires to reduce heat loss, improve efficiency and sharpen filter response. To operate at frequencies used in devices like smartphones, professors at Harvard, is developing techniques for making wires up to 1,000 times smaller than those used today. The team is also developing a DNA self-assembly method as a tool for manufacturing braids.
In parallel, Draper is developing a microfluidics-inspired approach for mechanically braiding the tiny wires that would be scalable to large numbers of wire at high throughput. Draper is also leading the efforts to model and design the Nanolitz wire to optimize electrical performance.
The improved signal performance could also enable devices to transmit up to five times more data per channel, receive much fainter signal levels, and overcome interference that disrupts GPS signals, said Draper’s David Carter, NanoLitz program manager.
The project builds on Draper’s expertise in harnessing advanced materials to develop biomedical solutions as well as systems like miniature communications and navigation devices.
Image credits: Draper