Friday, February 11, 2011

Computer processors made with nano-wire?

Everyone here knows that a computer's cpu is made up of millions of discrete components called transistors. Each processor unit is etched out of a larger block of semi-conductive material. All integrated circuit components are manufactured in this same method. The theoretical limit to how small these components can be is close at hand and any smaller then the failure rate for the components becomes too great.

Now Harvard University engineers have devised a process that makes the process of manufacture much more error free and ICs / CPUs very very small. Instead of etching the new process builds up the components with nano sized wire.

These wires are not wires in the traditional sense at all but are made of a core of the element germanium and sheathed in a silicon shell, thousands of times thinner than a human hair. Each one of these "wires" can contain a logic state by applying a small electric potential.

Nano wire circuits are nothing new. However this is the first time that one of this density has been assembled or shown to be completely programmable. Electrical leakage has shown to be less than conventional components and as such the nano components may be as much as 10X more efficient.

Because of their efficiency and size these components are most likely leading towards an entirely new class of much smaller, lighter-weight electronic sensors and consumer electronics, but in reality the proponents of the new tech do not foresee it supplanting computer processors as the nano processors are substantially slower than silicone ones.

Read the complete BBC News article


Anonymous said...

How can anything be "thousands of times thinner than a human hair" when anything that is one time thinner than a human hair has, by definition, zero thickness?

Beam Me Up said...

ahhhhhhhhhhh anyone want to take a stab at this one? I am speachless.....

Anonymous said...

One time a thickness minus one time the same thickness is defined as 1-1 = 0.
One time thinner than X has to equal zero thickness. Two times thinner than X is impossible.

One time as large as one equals one.
One time larger than one equals two.
Ten times as large as one equals ten.
Ten times larger than one equals eleven.

"As large as" is often being replaced by "larger than" even though the two equations are not the same.

Sorry for the math-rant but "larger than", "more than", smaller than", etc. are being tossed about without regard for their intended equations.

BMU, I love your posts and hope that you don't take my over-long venting as criticism of your blog. I'm only ranting against a too-common corruption of mathematical rigor.

Beam Me Up said...

Oh most certainly not! If I were ill at ease with your posts...well I do have the option, but far from it! I fear you caught me out in a thinly veiled attempt to get Huber of some of the others who love to run with a concept to get on board. I am afraid that you guys would get tired of me ranting all the time!

I do see where your going now and I am just as bad to have perpetuated it by copying it. Its such an easy way to say, its way small dudes! My private bitch is "It's a QUANTUM LEAP" in like it is a huge jump ahead...I think I have ground the tops off all my back molars from gnashing my teeth on that one.

No, keep it up, keep it lively, keep it honest. I am honestly glad that you post and enjoy what you read.

I wish I could get great feedback like that from the podcast! lol


Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha!

Don't get me started on "quantum"!

Beam Me Up said...

oh yeah, drives me nuts... and the weirdest thing yet was, I was talking to a friend today about how this conversation was evolving and this other woman down the table heard me say quantum physics. Well it was like I had mentioned the unknowable name of God or something. Quantum she said, It has the answers to everything! I am not making this up! It would appear that the new wavers have glommed onto the buzz words with fervor and are collecting converts... *sigh*