September 25, 2006

Nanowire Computing Made Practical

From the MIT Technology Review: Researchers have made efficient nanowire logic circuits that could be mass produced, slashing the size of transistors. One of the leading candidates for a technology that could make computers smaller and more powerful is based on transistors made from semiconducting nanowires. But until now, circuits made with such transistors have been impractical, because they were too power hungry and too difficult to manufacture. Now researchers at Caltech have built efficient nanowire-based circuits using a process they believe could be reliable enough for mass production. The first applications, which could be available commercially in five years, will probably be in ultrasensitive, inexpensive sensors that could detect and measure hundreds of different cancer markers or pathogens in a small sample, such as a single drop of blood. Eventually, the nanowire-based electronics could be used in processors for computing.

This nanowire-based CMOS circuit (the nanowires are too small to see) could help lead to ultrasmall computers.

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