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Concept: Logic gate


Precise control over processing, transport and delivery of ionic and molecular signals is of great importance in numerous fields of life sciences. Integrated circuits based on ion transistors would be one approach to route and dispense complex chemical signal patterns to achieve such control. To date several types of ion transistors have been reported; however, only individual devices have so far been presented and most of them are not functional at physiological salt concentrations. Here we report integrated chemical logic gates based on ion bipolar junction transistors. Inverters and NAND gates of both npn type and complementary type are demonstrated. We find that complementary ion gates have higher gain and lower power consumption, as compared with the single transistor-type gates, which imitates the advantages of complementary logics found in conventional electronics. Ion inverters and NAND gates lay the groundwork for further development of solid-state chemical delivery circuits.

Concepts: Molecule, Chemistry, Integrated circuit, Transistor, Bipolar junction transistor, Electronics, Logic gate, MOSFET


Fully printed wearable electronics based on two-dimensional (2D) material heterojunction structures also known as heterostructures, such as field-effect transistors, require robust and reproducible printed multi-layer stacks consisting of active channel, dielectric and conductive contact layers. Solution processing of graphite and other layered materials provides low-cost inks enabling printed electronic devices, for example by inkjet printing. However, the limited quality of the 2D-material inks, the complexity of the layered arrangement, and the lack of a dielectric 2D-material ink able to operate at room temperature, under strain and after several washing cycles has impeded the fabrication of electronic devices on textile with fully printed 2D heterostructures. Here we demonstrate fully inkjet-printed 2D-material active heterostructures with graphene and hexagonal-boron nitride (h-BN) inks, and use them to fabricate all inkjet-printed flexible and washable field-effect transistors on textile, reaching a field-effect mobility of ~91 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1), at low voltage (<5 V). This enables fully inkjet-printed electronic circuits, such as reprogrammable volatile memory cells, complementary inverters and OR logic gates.

Concepts: Electricity, Integrated circuit, Transistor, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Electronics, Logic gate


Organisms must process information encoded via developmental and environmental signals to survive and reproduce. Researchers have also engineered synthetic genetic logic to realize simpler, independent control of biological processes. We developed a three-terminal device architecture, termed the transcriptor, that uses bacteriophage serine integrases to control the flow of RNA polymerase along DNA. Integrase-mediated inversion or deletion of DNA encoding transcription terminators or a promoter modulate transcription rates. We realize permanent amplifying AND, NAND, OR, XOR, NOR, and XNOR gates actuated across common control signal ranges and sequential logic supporting autonomous cell-cell communication of DNA encoding distinct logic gate states. The single-layer digital logic architecture developed here enables engineering of amplifying logic gates to control transcription rates within and across diverse organisms.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Transcription, Virus, RNA polymerase, Logic gate


A remarkable feature of modern silicon electronics is its ability to remain physically invariant, almost indefinitely for practical purposes. Although this characteristic is a hallmark of applications of integrated circuits that exist today, there might be opportunities for systems that offer the opposite behavior, such as implantable devices that function for medically useful time frames but then completely disappear via resorption by the body. We report a set of materials, manufacturing schemes, device components, and theoretical design tools for a silicon-based complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology that has this type of transient behavior, together with integrated sensors, actuators, power supply systems, and wireless control strategies. An implantable transient device that acts as a programmable nonantibiotic bacteriocide provides a system-level example.

Concepts: Oxygen, Engineering, Integrated circuit, Semiconductor device, Transistor, Germanium, CMOS, Logic gate


Genetic programs function to integrate environmental sensors, implement signal processing algorithms and control expression dynamics. These programs consist of integrated genetic circuits that individually implement operations ranging from digital logic to dynamic circuits, and they have been used in various cellular engineering applications, including the implementation of process control in metabolic networks and the coordination of spatial differentiation in artificial tissues. A key limitation is that the circuits are based on biochemical interactions occurring in the confined volume of the cell, so the size of programs has been limited to a few circuits. Here we apply part mining and directed evolution to build a set of transcriptional AND gates in Escherichia coli. Each AND gate integrates two promoter inputs and controls one promoter output. This allows the gates to be layered by having the output promoter of an upstream circuit serve as the input promoter for a downstream circuit. Each gate consists of a transcription factor that requires a second chaperone protein to activate the output promoter. Multiple activator-chaperone pairs are identified from type III secretion pathways in different strains of bacteria. Directed evolution is applied to increase the dynamic range and orthogonality of the circuits. These gates are connected in different permutations to form programs, the largest of which is a 4-input AND gate that consists of 3 circuits that integrate 4 inducible systems, thus requiring 11 regulatory proteins. Measuring the performance of individual gates is sufficient to capture the behaviour of the complete program. Errors in the output due to delays (faults), a common problem for layered circuits, are not observed. This work demonstrates the successful layering of orthogonal logic gates, a design strategy that could enable the construction of large, integrated circuits in single cells.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Transcription, Escherichia coli, Logic gate


Logic devices based on magnetism show promise for increasing computational efficiency while decreasing consumed power. They offer zero quiescent power and yet combine novel functions such as programmable logic operation and non-volatile built-in memory. However, practical efforts to adapt a magnetic device to logic suffer from a low signal-to-noise ratio and other performance attributes that are not adequate for logic gates. Rather than exploiting magnetoresistive effects that result from spin-dependent transport of carriers, we have approached the development of a magnetic logic device in a different way: we use the phenomenon of large magnetoresistance found in non-magnetic semiconductors in high electric fields. Here we report a device showing a strong diode characteristic that is highly sensitive to both the sign and the magnitude of an external magnetic field, offering a reversible change between two different characteristic states by the application of a magnetic field. This feature results from magnetic control of carrier generation and recombination in an InSb p-n bilayer channel. Simple circuits combining such elementary devices are fabricated and tested, and Boolean logic functions including AND, OR, NAND and NOR are performed. They are programmed dynamically by external electric or magnetic signals, demonstrating magnetic-field-controlled semiconductor reconfigurable logic at room temperature. This magnetic technology permits a new kind of spintronic device, characterized as a current switch rather than a voltage switch, and provides a simple and compact platform for non-volatile reconfigurable logic devices.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Magnetism, Integrated circuit, Transistor, Diode, Logic gate


Despite several years of research into graphene electronics, sufficient on/off current ratio I(on)/I(off) in graphene transistors with conventional device structures has been impossible to obtain. We report on a three-terminal active device, a graphene variable-barrier “barristor” (GB), in which the key is an atomically sharp interface between graphene and hydrogenated silicon. Large modulation on the device current (on/off ratio of 10(5)) is achieved by adjusting the gate voltage to control the graphene-silicon Schottky barrier. The absence of Fermi-level pinning at the interface allows the barrier’s height to be tuned to 0.2 electron volt by adjusting graphene’s work function, which results in large shifts of diode threshold voltages. Fabricating GBs on respective 150-mm wafers and combining complementary p- and n-type GBs, we demonstrate inverter and half-adder logic circuits.

Concepts: Electron, Vacuum tube, Semiconductor, Transistor, Diode, Logic gate, Volt, Threshold voltage


In today’s age, companies employ machine learning to extract information from large quantities of data. One of those techniques, reservoir computing (RC), is a decade old and has achieved state-of-the-art performance for processing sequential data. Dedicated hardware realizations of RC could enable speed gains and power savings. Here we propose the first integrated passive silicon photonics reservoir. We demonstrate experimentally and through simulations that, thanks to the RC paradigm, this generic chip can be used to perform arbitrary Boolean logic operations with memory as well as 5-bit header recognition up to 12.5 Gbit s(-1), without power consumption in the reservoir. It can also perform isolated spoken digit recognition. Our realization exploits optical phase for computing. It is scalable to larger networks and much higher bitrates, up to speeds >100 Gbit s(-1). These results pave the way for the application of integrated photonic RC for a wide range of applications.

Concepts: Optics, Machine learning, Computer, Logic, Logic gate, Photonics, Boolean logic, Silicon photonics


A FPGA-based real-time digital pulse shape discriminator has been employed to distinguish between neutrons (n) and gammas (γ) in the Neutron Flux Monitor (NFM) for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The discriminator takes advantages of the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) parallel and pipeline process capabilities to carry out the real-time sifting of neutrons in n/γ mixed radiation fields, and uses the rise time and amplitude inspection techniques simultaneously as the discrimination algorithm to observe good n/γ separation. Some experimental results have been presented which show that this discriminator can realize the anticipated goals of NFM perfectly with its excellent discrimination quality and zero dead time.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Neutron, Nuclear fusion, Logic gate, Field-programmable gate array, Application-specific integrated circuit, Gate array, VHDL


Memristors are one of the most promising candidates for future information and communications technology (ICT) architectures. Two experimental proofs of concept are presented based on the intermixing of spintronic and memristive effects into a single device, a magnetically enhanced memristor (MEM). By exploiting the interaction between the memristance and the giant magnetoresistance (GMR), a universal implication (IMP) logic gate based on a single MEM device is realized.

Concepts: Integrated circuit, Transistor, Logic gate, Spintronics, Magnetoresistance, Giant magnetoresistance, Memristor