Friday, February 11, 2011

Nanowire processor signals route to ever-smaller chips

False colour SEM of nanowire chip (Lieber group, Harvard)Engineers have developed a computer chip made of tiny "nanowires" whose computing functions can be changed by applying small electric currents.

These "programmable logic tiles" may represent the building blocks of a new generation of ever-smaller computers.

Instead of etching chips down from chunks of material, the nanoprocessors can be built up from minuscule parts.

The work, reported in Nature, may outpace the shrinking of chips made with current manufacturing techniques.

The group led by Charles Lieber of Harvard University has spent the last few years developing the nanowires - each made of a core of the element germanium and sheathed in a silicon shell, thousands of times thinner than a human hair.

The latest report is a demonstration that the wires can be made reliably enough to enter the world of computing.

Small circuits made of nanowires have been assembled before, but the latest work is unique in the sheer complexity of the resulting circuit, along with the fact that the tiles can be "cascaded" to yield far more complex circuits. ...

via BBC News - Nanowire processor signals route to ever-smaller chips.

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