Australian National University (ANU) researchers have announced the development of a system to transport data using atomically thin semiconductors.
The project’s research lead, ANU Research School of Physics Ph.D. scholar Matthias Wurdack, said the technology could potentially pave the way for sustainable future growth in computing by reducing wasted energy consumption.
“Computers already use around 10% of all globally available electricity, a number which comes with a massive financial and environmental cost, and is predicted to double every 10 years due to the increasing demand for computing,” Wurdack said.
“Since producing, storing, and supplying energy always comes with a cost, including air pollution and climate change as a result of burning fossil fuels, it is extremely important we reduce our electricity usage for a more sustainable future.”
The researchers will now move on to the next phase of the project, which consists of incorporating the technology into a transistor, ANU said.
“The centre will reimagine how policy can be used in a positive way to shape technology,” ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop said.
“This will help position our nation to harness the full potential of digital technologies while responsibly mitigating against future harms.”
According to the researchers, the semiconductor is the first to successfully demonstrate this level of efficient transportation of information carriers — particles that transport data in computers.
100,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper, the semiconductor is “extremely energy efficient” due to the researchers claiming it is not “giving off any heat”, which results in no energy being wasted.
Providing more detail, ANU said the centre would research who is the owner of data and has permission to use it; the increasing influence and power of tech giants; online rights and safety; and the impact of misinformation, disinformation, and foreign interference on democracy.
The new centre will be led by Johanna Weaver.