Feeds

HP scientists wave bye-bye to the transistor

So last century

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.