Nanotechnology Breakthroughs for Computer Chips

Posted on September 2, 2007  Comments (2)

Nano On Off Switch

Photo: Actual scanning tunneling microscopy images of the naphthalocyanine molecule in the “on” and the “off” state. More images

IBM Unveils Two Major Nanotechnology Breakthroughs as Building Blocks for Atomic Structures and Devices

IBM scientists have made major progress in probing a property called magnetic anisotropy in individual atoms. This fundamental measurement has important technological consequences because it determines an atom’s ability to store information. Previously, nobody had been able to measure the magnetic anisotropy of a single atom.

With further work it may be possible to build structures consisting of small clusters of atoms, or even individual atoms, that could reliably store magnetic information. Such a storage capability would enable nearly 30,000 feature length movies or the entire contents of YouTube – millions of videos estimated to be more than 1,000 trillion bits of data – to fit in a device the size of an iPod. Perhaps more importantly, the breakthrough could lead to new kinds of structures and devices that are so small they could be applied to entire new fields and disciplines beyond traditional computing.

In the second report, IBM researchers unveiled the first single-molecule switch that can operate flawlessly without disrupting the molecule’s outer frame — a significant step toward building computing elements at the molecular scale that are vastly smaller, faster and use less energy than today’s computer chips and memory devices.

In addition to switching within a single molecule, the researchers also demonstrated that atoms inside one molecule can be used to switch atoms in an adjacent molecule, representing a rudimentary logic element. This is made possible partly because the molecular framework is not disturbed.

Related: Self-assembling Nanotechnology in Chip ManufacturingMore Microchip BreakthroughsNanotechnology posts

2 Responses to “Nanotechnology Breakthroughs for Computer Chips”

  1. CuriousCat: Energy-Efficient Microchip
    February 5th, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

    “Reducing the operating voltage, however, is not as simple as it might sound, because existing microchips have been optimized for many years to operate at the higher standard-voltage level. Memory and logic circuits have to be redesigned to operate at very low power supply voltages…”

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog: MRI That Can See Bacteria, Virus and Proteins
    January 28th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

    The researchers demonstrated this imaging at a resolution 100 million times finer than current MRI. The advance could lead to important medical applications and is powerful enough to see bacteria, viruses and proteins, say the researchers…

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