Chip biz challenged to develop molecular CPUs

Build smaller, vastly more capacious chips... or else, warns boffin

Working molecular computers could be as little as a year away, according to Rice University professor Jim Tour.

And he has thrown down a challenge to all the industry's chip and PC makers to realise his vision of computers capable of storing more than a million times more data than current solid state chips.

His idea is to combine traditional silicon chip technology with newer molecular components to make a hybrid chip that will run much faster and be capable of processing way more data.

He told the Houston Chronicle: "I want to see us run up the tail of every chip maker around. This will change the landscape for some huge, global industries."

He predicts that the atom-sized components involved in these speculative new computers could lead to processors capable of running thousands of times faster than they do today - or memory chips with millions of times more capacity than all the PCs Compaq builds in a year.

Because they are so small, they will be extremely cheap to manufacture. 'But fabs are making small stuff and that is still expensive...' we hear you thinking, but these will be built through chemical self-assembly, reducing the costs even further, claims Tour.

For more details, click here or here for more on Tour himself. ®