Feeds

HP scientists wave bye-bye to the transistor

So last century

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A breakthrough in molecular computing could be the beginning of the end for the transistor, according to scientists at HP.

Researchers have successfully demonstrated a "crossbar latch", a technology that behaves just like a transistor, but is much smaller, and simpler to make. HP's quantum science research (QSR) group says the new technology paves the way for machines that are thousands of times more powerful than anything available today.

The device, based on just three wires, can perform the NOT, AND and OR operations. It can also restore the logic level in a circuit to its ideal voltage value, according to the research paper, published in today's Journal of Applied Physics.

The "crossbar latch" has a significant advantage over traditional silicon transistors, the QSR team explains. Standard semiconductor circuits need three-terminal transistors to perform the NOT operation and restore signals. But the performance of silicon components is limited by their size, and silicon transistors of just a few nanometres across are not expected to be operable.

The latch is composed of a single wire that behaves as a signal line, crossed by two control lines. These control lines have an electronically switchable, molecular scale junction, where they intersect the signal line. It is controlled by applying a sequence of voltage impulses to the control lines and using oppositely polarised switches.

"Transistors will continue to be used for years to come with conventional silicon circuits," said Phil Kuekes, senior computer architect, QSR, and one of the paper's authors. "But this could someday replace transistors in computers, just as transistors replaced vacuum tubes and vacuum tubes replaced electromagnetic relays before them."

Kukes was awarded a US patent (No. 6,586,965) on the technology in 2003. ®

Related stories

Scientists slice graphite into atom-thick sheets
Canadian scientists build nano-propeller
Scientists send Buckyballs to detox

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS are FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, though
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.