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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Vera Sazonova, 30

World’s smallest resonator could lead to tiny mechanical devices

Nat’l Research Council Canada

Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, play a key role in gyroscopes, tiny chemical sensors, optical switches used in the telecom industry, and more. An even smaller version of the technology--nanoelectromechanica­l systems, or NEMS--could likewise have broad technological importance. Vera Sazonov­a has made the world's smallest NEMS device: a tiny resonator that consists of a single carbon nanotube suspended over a silicon gate. A voltage at the gate makes the nanotube vibrate, creating a high-frequency current. Since the current is hard to detect, Sazonova applied another voltage at a slightly different frequency; the two signals mix to create a third, low-­frequency current that is easier to pick up. Potential applications include ultrasensitive motion detectors, sensors that can detect the mass of molecules, and even devices for detecting gravitational waves. --Prachi Patel

2009 TR35 Winners

Andrea Armani

Sensitive optical sensors detect single molecules

James Carey (video)

Using “black silicon” to build inexpensive, super-sensitive light detectors

Adam Dunkels

Minimal wireless-networking protocols allow almost any device to communicate over the Internet

Kevin Fu (video)

Defeating would-be hackers of radio frequency chips in objects from credit cards to pacemakers  

Andrew Houck

Preserving information for practical quantum computing

Shahram Izadi (video)

An intuitive 3-D interface helps people manage layers of data

Ali Javey

“Painting” nanowires into electronic circuits

Anat Levin

New cameras and algorithms capture the potential of digital images

Pranav Mistry (video)

A simple, wearable device enhances the real world with digital information

Aydogan Ozcan

Inexpensive chips and sophisticated software could make microscope lenses obsolete

Vera Sazonova

World’s smallest resonator could lead to tiny mechanical devices

Elena Shevchenko

Assembling nanocrystals to create made-to-order materials

Dawn Song

Defeating malware through automated software analysis

Andrea Thomaz (video)

Robots that learn new skills the way people do

Adrien Treuille (video)

Complex physics simulations that can run on everyday PCs

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