Researchers claims to have developed a breakthrough in circuit design that could make gadget circuitry damage a thing of the past.
Published in the Nature Electronics journal, the innovation comes from researchers at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York.
The idea is to provide robust protection against circuitry damage affecting signal transmission, an increasingly important issue given how difficult much modern electronics has become to repair.
The project was led by the Center's director of the ASRC's Photonics Initiative, Andrea Alù.
Alù and his colleagues from The City College of New York, University of Texas at Austin and Tel Aviv University were inspired by three British researchers who had researched how properties of matter, such as electrical conductivity, can be preserved in certain materials despite continuous changes in the matter's form or shape.
This concept is associated with topology, a theory within mathematics that studies the properties of space under continuous deformations.
"In the past few years there has been a strong interest in translating this concept of matter topology from material science to light propagation," Alù explained.
He continued: "We achieved two goals with this project: First, we showed that we can use the science of topology to facilitate robust electromagnetic-wave propagation in electronics and circuit components.
"Second, we showed that the inherent robustness associated with these topological phenomena can be self-induced by the signal traveling in the circuit, and that we can achieve this robustness using suitably tailored nonlinearities in circuit arrays."
To achieve the discovery, the team used non-linear resonators to mould a band-diagram of the circuit array. The array was designed so that a change in signal intensity could induce a change in the band diagram's topology.
As the voltage was increased, the band-diagram's topology was automatically modified, and the signal transmission was not impeded by arbitrary defects introduced across the circuit array. This provided direct evidence of a topological transition in the circuitry that translated into a self-induced robustness against defects and disorder.
"As soon as we applied the higher-voltage signal, the system reconfigured itself, inducing a topology that propagated across the entire chain of resonators allowing the signal to transmit without any problem," said the study's co-author and professor at The City College of New York, A. Khanikaev.
He continued: "Because the system is non-linear, it's able to undergo an unusual transition that makes signal transmission robust even when there are defects or damage to the circuitry."
The breakthrough shows how complex concepts in mathematics can have real-life impact on common electronic devices, potentially making them more robust in the future.
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