By Chris JankowskiElectronic chess boards are increasingly being used in industries like manufacturing, cybersecurity, medical devices and even space exploration.
Now a team of researchers from the University of Washington has developed a programmable chess board that generates a high-energy electron beam that can be used for applications beyond the realm of traditional electronics.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, involved creating an electronic chess board by combining two pieces of silicon and a laser-emitting diode.
The board uses an electronic circuit called a silicon-based photonic crystal to transmit an electric field to a target piece of silicon.
The laser pulse is used to generate a magnetic field that attracts the target piece to the silicon.
Researchers created a silicon board that generated an electric charge that attracted the target silicon to the photonic layer, which then reflected off of the target surface and into the photic layer.
This mirrors the behavior of electrons.
The resulting electron beam could be used to transmit electrical signals, or it could be useful for creating magnetic fields and other signals that could be stored and used in future electronics.
Electronics typically have two types of materials that generate electric fields.
The first is the crystal-based type, which consists of a layer of silicon sandwiched between two layers of glass.
This type of chip can produce an electric current that is the same as the current in the battery of a mobile phone.
The second is the semiconductor-based kind, which has a layer made of silicon, glass or silicon oxide.
This material is much less conductive and therefore produces much less electrical current.
Electronic chips typically use a single layer of semiconductor, but researchers at the UW have created an electronic board with multiple layers.
This is the first time anyone has built an electronic system that uses multiple layers of semiconductors to create an electronic signal.
The team is now working to create a board that can operate with multiple photonic layers, which would allow it to be used in electronics that use a different type of semicode material.
The researchers are also working on a computerized version of the board that could perform other functions, such as sensing and manipulating a magnetic flux.
The project is currently funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.