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Nanoresonators could aid cell phone users

A tiny mechanical device known as an electrostatically actuated nanoresonator could help to ease congestion over the airways by improving the performance of new and old cell phones as well other forms of portable devices.  Scientists have discovered how they can mass-produce small mechanical devices that can assist the users of cell phones in avoiding the nuisances of slow downloads and dropped calls.

“There is not enough radio spectrum to account for everybody’s handheld portable device,” says Purdue University associate professor of mechanical engineering, Jeffrey Rhoads.  Because of overcrowding, users of cell phones experience the frustration of busy signals, slower download and degraded call quality.  In order to counter the problem, the industry is attempting to build systems that will be able to operate with much more sharply defined channels so that a lot more of them will be able to fit into the bandwidth that is available.

“To do that you need more precise filters for cell phones and other radio devices, systems that reject noise and allow signals only near a given frequency to pass,” says electrical and computer engineering associate professor Saeed Mohammadi, who is working alongside Rhoads as well as other researchers including doctoral student Hossein Pajouhi.

The team has created devices known as nanoelectromechanical resonators that contain a small silicon beam that vibrates when voltage is applied.  The researchers have demonstrators that these devices are created with a yield of almost 100 percent, which means that almost all of the devices created with silicon wafers functioned properly.