Researchers at Northwestern have developed technology to "steer" electrical currents through a solid nanomaterial, even on multiple paths in opposite directions. The material could be used as a " programmable bridge" between current technologies, allowing newer components to work in older devices just by running a program that creates new circuitry.
The substance is created with large positive particles and smaller negative ones; applying an electric charge realigns the negative parts into a conductive path. This allows the substance to be electronically rewired for different needs. Furthermore, the team says basic electrical components can be made using other nanoparticles, and it is working toward a device that would allow changing the actual hardware, rather than just the wires that connect it. The team's research was published in Nature Nanotechnology on October 16th.