The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

You'll only need to charge your phone four times a year in the future

Scientists have created a new material for processors which uses 100 times less energy than the semiconductor-based systems currently used

Charlotte Beale
Thursday 27 July 2017 11:39
Your daily smartphone charge may be a thing of the past after scientists have engineered a new processor material which needs a fraction of the energy
Your daily smartphone charge may be a thing of the past after scientists have engineered a new processor material which needs a fraction of the energy

Brush your teeth, comb your hair, charge your phone; plugging in your device has become a twice-daily habit.

But you may be able to charge your phone just once every three months in the future.

'Toilet paper for smartphones' installed in airport lavatories

Scientists have engineered a new material which allows processors to function using 100 times less energy.

Researchers at the Universities of Michigan and Cornell have created a new magnetoelectric multiferroic material.

It is formed of thin layers of atoms which make up a magnetically polar film. This can be flipped from positive to negative with only a tiny pulse of energy.

This principle could be used to transmit binary code, the streams of 1s and 0s, on which our computers operate. This means they could send and receive data using just a fraction of the electricity.

Currently, processors are built using semiconductor-based systems which need a constant flow of electricity. But processors built using magnetoelectric multiferroic systems would only need short pulses of electricity, using far less energy.

Electronics currently consume five per cent of total global energy, and are the fastest-growing energy consumer, according to Ramamoorthy Ramesh, associate laboratory director for energy technologies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

By 2030, electronics could consume 40 to 50 per cent of global energy. Devising energy-efficient processors could have a significant impact on our global energy footprint.

Not to mention our mood, when our phone cuts out without a plug in sight.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in