In 1965, engineer Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years. This prediction, known as Moore’s Law, has been proven accurate and spurred semiconductor research toward miniaturization. Moore’s Law, however, is starting to plateau. According to Cornell University physicist and National Academy of Sciences member Paul L. McEuen, this plateau presents an opportunity. Over his career, McEuen has worked with silicon devices and studied and fabricated next-generation inorganic and organic materials, such as gallium arsenide and carbon nanotubes. He and others are combining silicon electronics with these novel materials and deploying them in different technological niches. McEuen’s Inaugural Article (1) takes this work a step further by using heterogenous materials in a wireless electronic sensor system that is so small it can barely be seen by the naked eye. Fig. 1. Paul L. McEuen. Image credit: Susan Wiser (photographer). Fig. 2. An OWIC on a fingertip. Image credit: Alejandro Cortese (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY). McEuen grew up in Oklahoma and developed an interest in science and technology from a young age. When he was 13 years old, McEuen experienced an epiphany that would foreshadow his career in science. “I had saved up about $200,” McEuen says, “and bought a telescope to look at stars and planets.” After a few hours, however, he got bored. “Stars and planets don’t do very much,” he adds. So McEuen trained his telescope on a nearby wasp that had settled atop a soda can. “It was stunning,” he recalls. “The wasp looked like an amazing, fantastical machine. I was just blown away. So much complexity in such a small package; that, I think, is when I started to understand that ‘small’ was the way for me.” Now, his Cornell laboratory’s motto, “anything, as long as it’s small,” reflects this early …

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