Researchers develop switches for future 6G devices - study

Although 6G isn't expected to be available until around 2030, these findings mark another step closer toward the technology.

 INSTALLING 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in the US.  (photo credit: GEORGE FREY/REUTERS)
INSTALLING 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in the US.
(photo credit: GEORGE FREY/REUTERS)

A team led by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin has built components to enable wireless devices to attain the speeds required for 6G communications, according to the university.

In a peer-reviewed study published in the Nature Electronics journal on Monday, the team showed new radio frequency switches that keep wireless devices connected by bouncing from network to network and frequency to frequency as they receive data. These switches are significantly faster, more energy-efficient, and have better battery life than current ones.

One of the primary aspects that make these switches more effective than current models is the use of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) in between the electrodes.

Workers install 5G telecommunications equipment on a T-Mobile tower in Seabrook, Texas. May 6, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/ADREES LATIF)Workers install 5G telecommunications equipment on a T-Mobile tower in Seabrook, Texas. May 6, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/ADREES LATIF)

These components, called memristors, are usually used for memory, but the modification allowing them to be used as switches could enable faster speeds and longer battery life.

Looking toward the future

Although 6G isn't expected to be available until around 2030, these findings mark another step closer toward the technology.

“Anything that is battery-operated and needs to access the cloud or the 5G and eventually 6G network, these switches can provide those low-energy, high-speed functions."

Professor Deji Akinwande, The University of Texas at Austin

Lead researcher Deji Akinwande, a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin said that for “anything that is battery-operated and needs to access the cloud or the 5G and eventually 6G network, these switches can provide those low-energy, high-speed functions."