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Nov. 11, 2021

Improving nanoscale electrical contacts and junctions

MSU research takes a step to solving shortfalls in high-tech electronics

Pity today’s electronic devices. Ever-increasing demands for smarter and more compact gadgets have pushed electronics to their physical limits. The challenges are even greater for emerging flexible and wearable electronics, where users are demanding less power consumption but more reliability and lifespan.

Research at Michigan State University has taken a step closer to reaching those high-tech goals.

Faculty members in the College of Engineering have developed a method to help solve circuit challenges by engineering electronic components that are as small as one-billionth of a meter in size.

“One of the essential building blocks are the nanoscale electrical contacts and junctions which help connect all the circuit elements to form a complete circuit,” said Peng Zhang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and project supervisor.

“These contacts are typically the weak points in a circuit. When the current flow is constricted, it can lead to higher electrical resistance, heat buildup, and eventually the breakdown of the circuit.”

Faulty electrical contacts aren’t limited to just small devices either, Zhang said.

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