Feeds

Boffins beat Moore's Law with quantum magic

Look, ma, no wires

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

IBM scientists believe they may have found a way to beat the physical limitations imposed on microprocessors as the chips' circuits become too small to support an electrical current. The technique, dubbed the Quantum Mirage Effect (QME), is positively mind-boggling. Essentially, information about an atom at point A appears at point B even though there is no physical connection between the two points. "We call it a mirage because we project information about one atom to another spot where there is no atom," said Donald Eigler, head of the research project at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. "This is a fundamentally new way of guiding information through a solid." QME is analogous the way sound and light can be guided by curved surfaces, such as parabolic reflectors, from one point to another, except this time the information is transmitted by electrons, which, according to quantum theory, can behave either as particles (which they do in a traditional electrical circuit, say) or as waves. The IBM team created an ellipse-shaped ring of cobalt atoms on a surface of copper, creating the quantum equivalent of a parabolic dish. Placing an atom of magnetic cobalt at one focus of the ellipse, the atom's quantum state was replicated at the other focus. So, were you to alter the atom's quantum state -- the spatial distribution of its electrons and their energies -- that information would be transmitted to the other focus instantaneously. The interest here for the processor industry here is that as chips are produced with ever-smaller (in accordance with Moore's Law) electrical circuits, the point will soon be reached where there are too few electrons to support a current. Researchers reckon the limit will be hit in around ten years' time as fabrication processes drop beyond 0.1 micron. The IBM discovery is a long way off being applied to practical processor circuitry, but it does offer one way of shrinking chip technology beyond its current limits. The IBM team have produced ellipses that are 20 nanometres long -- around ten times smaller than the wiring within a 0.22 micron chip. ® Related Story Big Blue boffins to unveil 4.5GHz CPU breakthrough

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.