Hewlett-Packard Creates Molecular Circuit Switch in a Goodbye to Silicone Transistors

February 4, 2005
February 4, 2005, HP announced they have created a crossbar latch system at a molecular level which will shrink the size of a standard computer chip immensely. The space between the wires in HP’s new transistor replacement can be as small as 2 nanometers while current transistors are spaced at 60 nanometers apart.

"We are re-inventing the computer at the molecular scale," said Stan Williams, HP Senior Fellow and QSR director. "The crossbar latch provides a key element needed for building a computer using nanometer-sized devices that are relatively inexpensive and easy to build."

The basic system works with two nano-sized wires lying atop a third which are connected by molecules that transfer electrical impulses between the wires. When a charge is run through the wires the first or second connection are tripped to open or close to the passage of the charge. As it relates to a computer opening the first connection and closing the second becomes a "1" and closing the first and opening the second becomes a “0.”

The first generation of these nano-processors will work as a hybrid mounted on top of a silicone chip. In the same way current chips are set in a card which is mounted on a motherboard, the crossbar-latch microprocessors will be mounted directly on a silicone chip which will perform the functions of a motherboard.

Hewlett-Packard would like to introduce the technology in a 32 nanometer (32 billionths of a meter) chip by 2011 or 2012.

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