UCLA researchers develop nanoscale microwave oscillators, promise better and cheaper mobile devices

At a size of just 100 nanometers, it may not be much to look at, but a new type of microwave oscillator developed by researchers at UCLA could open the door to mobile communication devices that are smaller, cheaper and more efficient. As PhysOrg reports, unlike traditional silicon-based oscillators (the bit of a device that produces radio-frequency signals), these new oscillators rely on the spin of an electron rather than its charge to create microwaves -- a change that apparently bring with it a host of benefits. That includes a boost in signal quality, and a dramatic reduction in size. The new nanoscale system is fully 10,000 times smaller than current silicon-based oscillators, and can even be incorporated into existing chips without a big change in manufacturing processes. As with most such developments, however, it remains to be seen when we'll actually see it put into practice.