Smart Sensors Created with Vanadium Dioxide
Vanadium dioxide is an intriguing material with special properties, and is currently used in infrared sensors. Researchers at North Carolina State University have recently managed to incorporate a single crystal of the material into a silicon chip, creating a smart sensor.
In typical infrared sensors, the actual sensor and devices for processing the data are separated. This means there is a little bit of extra time for data to be sent between them and that more energy is needed for that transfer. By integrating the sensor directly onto the chip though, the data can be immediately processed, creating a smart sensor. This will also allow the infrared sensor to be lighter than conventional ones.
Using a high-powered nanosecond laser pulse, the researchers were also able to make the vanadium dioxide magnetic, creating a smart spintronic sensor. Spintronics are a field of technology that could come to dominate computing in the future.
Source: North Carolina State University