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water based switches

New Tech News: Ultra-fast Water-based Switches

Water and electronics don’t usually mix, but recent technological advances have shown advantages to using water-based switches in the future.

German engineers have developed a faster alternative to current semiconductor switches. They have created a new concept for water-based switches which are proving to be much faster semiconductor materials. They believe that their research could pave the way for ‘water electronics.’

Why is speed important?

An essential component of electronic systems, transistors process signals by switching between conductive ‘on’ and non-conductive ‘off’ states, as the semiconductor materials in them respond to electrical currents. How fast a computer system operates is basically dependent on the speed of this switching action. The researchers at Ruhr University Bochum have created a circuit which has the potential to switch much faster than previously used semiconductor materials. With salty water, and added iodide ions, being the star ingredient.

How does it work?

The water-based switches work by fanning water out through a special nozzle into a flattened jet. A powerful laser is then fired into the jet of water, which improves water conductivity. The second laser recognises whether the water is in an “on” or “off” state, similar to a traditional transistor.

The intense speed of the laser pulse means that the water can switch states in picoseconds, which translate as a few trillionths of a second. By using a water-based switch, computer speeds in the terahertz range can be achieved, therefore beating any existing semiconductor’s switch times.

What does is mean for water filtration?

Water-based switches are just a concept at the moment, however just exactly how this new technology could be incorporated remains to be seen. We predict that it could open the door to fresh new opportunities for the water filtration industry. Just watch this space for more water-related tech and science news

Photo Credit: Water based switch (Adrian Buchmann)