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Peter Diamandis

What Nanotube Computers Mean To Moore's Law

RATE THIS! +30
Posted in Science on 26th Dec, 2013 01:06 AM by AlexMuller

A team of engineers from Stanford University has designed a computer that relies on carbon nanotubes, offering a way around the limitations of traditional silicon semiconductors that threaten an end to performance advances.

 
In a report published in Nature magazine, Stanford doctoral student Max Shulaker and his fellow students, Gage Hills, Nishant Patil, Hai Wei and Hong-Yu Chen, along with Stanford professors Subhasish Mitra and H.S. Philip Wong, describe their work.
 
Carbon nanotubes are, as their name suggests, nanoscale tubes made of the element carbon. A nanometer (nm) is 1 billionth of a meter, and about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. Nanotubes themselves come in varying diameters, from less than 1 nm to about 50 nm. Their lengths have tended toward thousands of nanometers, or microns, though recent advances have extended nanotube measurements into the centimeter range.
 
They are all exceedingly small and difficult to work with. The Stanford researchers' achievement involved developing a manufacturing process that can eliminate defective and misaligned nanotubes without having to look for them. In essence, they created an automated way to find tiny needles in very, very small haystacks.
 
The computer that the researchers designed is rudimentary. It's intended as a proof-of-concept rather than a production model. Nevertheless, it is "Turing Complete," meaning it is a system that can run arbitrary code and solve any computational problem, given enough time.
 
It uses 178 transistors, each of which contains between 10 and 200 carbon nanotubes. It can perform four basic operations that allow it to do things like count and sort numbers. It can run two programs at the same time.
 
An actual commercial computer based on carbon nanotubes is still many years away. It took a decade and a half to move from the first nanotube transistors to a prototype nanotube computer.

Tags: carbon nanotubecomputer chipnanotechnologynanomaterials

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+2
This is very important step towards the next big stage in computers and their capabilities. Demonstrating the proof of principal is necessary to convince everyone about this remarkable technology. Well done
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
I found that the members of the Stanford team hope that their achievement will now step up efforts to find a commercial successor to silicon chips, which could soon encounter their physical limits. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+1
Indeed, the trend to increase transistor density in silicon semiconductor chips can not be sustained for much longer. The big step is needed and requires new material - see you in Carbon Valley Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+2
The ten-year gap between working model in the lab versus mass producible version tells us how far we have to go with nanotube research. Nevertheless, a very promising material that is completely renewable.
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
These are many, initial necessary steps in taking carbon nanotubes from the chemistry lab to a real environment- we have to see this yet
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
Indeed it could take some time before we see a commercial nanotube computer But they believe that it is now only a matter of time - there is no technological barrier Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+1
People have been talking about a new era of carbon nanotube electronics, but there have been few demonstrations. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
What's more, carbon nanotubes and silicon transistors can work together on the same chip, which suggests the possibility of a hybrid transition path." Intel engineers must be very excited over this project.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
It is great to know that the billions of dollars invested into silicon has not been wasted, and can be applied for carbon nanotubes Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+1
I found out that carbon nanotubes are so thin that thousands could fit side-by-side in a human hair - and it takes very little energy to switch them off. Great promise Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
It seems that there is no limit to the tasks this computer can perform, given enough memory. In principle, it could be used to solve any computational problem.
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-26
+0
I would not underestimate importance of this and other recent achievements with carbon-based electronic system. This is definitely possible and is coming soon Reply


 

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